ARMONK – Emma Lee is rarely off the rails.
Her ability to quickly self-correct produced another Section 1 title Wednesday at the Whippoorwill Club. After closing out the front side with back-to-back double bogeys, the Scarsdale sophomore confidently squelched the blossoming drama with four birdies on the back.
The defending champion again won by four shots.
Lee opened with an even-par 72 at The Links at Unionvale, slept on the lead for a week and followed up with an even-par 73 here.
“It was definitely a different mindset,” she said. “Last year, playing from behind, I was just focused on playing my game and seeing what happened. This year, there were more consequences for not playing well. It would not have looked good or felt good. I was definitely more nervous, so I had to force myself to breathe and play my game.”
Round 1: Scarsdale’s Emma Lee is back on top of the Section 1 tournament leaderboard
Boys golf: Scarsdale’s Leo Chu holds steady in the wind, captures Section 1 championship
Last year in the Section 1 tournament, Lee was enjoying a two-shot lead with three holes to play when she pulled a drive out of bounds. She rolled in a 40-footer to make bogey on the 16th and preserved her advantage.
A cranky putter was the issue this time around.
“My putting was good on the front nine until I double-bogeyed 8 and 9,” Lee said. “I was letting the scores get to me. Nina (Choe) was coming up on me, but I just looked at it like I had a new nine and went back to playing my game.”
That’s code for hitting fairways and greens and dropping putts.
Choe was a shot off the lead before Lee went 4-under on the back. The freshman at Ursuline hardly collapsed, going 1-under over the last nine. Both players earned an invite to next month’s NYSPHSAA championship at The Edison Club in Saratoga County along with Ursuline’s Julia Kret, Greeley’s Juyeon Paek, Ursuline’s Sophia Nogalo, Fox Lane’s Faith Petrino, John Jay Cross River’s Mia Holbrook, Scarsdale’s Allison Kahn and Rye Neck’s Chelsea Wang.
The top 15 finishers were named all-section.
Wang had to endure some late-round tension before earning a seat on the bus. She finished 11th in 2019, missed her freshman season due to COVID and when she came in third in 2021 the championship was canceled due to the pandemic. Wang came in 10th at sectionals last season.
She made a 15-foot birdie putt on the 17th, then got up and down from a bunker and rolled in a 25-foot birdie to finish a shot ahead of Scarsdale’s Chloe Ji with a final-round 83.
“I had a lot of really close calls as far as making the state team,” said Wang, who was 22-over for the championship. “I knew I had to make that putt. Chloe is such a good player, there is no way she was going to double bogey on the last. I was trembling on all of those shots.”
Along with the excitement of getting to play in the states, there was also concern.
“Chloe is my best friend,” Wang said. “We always check on each other. In every tournament we play together we’re neck and neck, so this is going to be hard, going without her.”
Section 1 was a repeat champion at states last year. Choe was the runner-up, Kret was third and Lee was seventh.
“It’s definitely nice to meet new people,” Lee said. “Last year, I didn’t know anybody in the group, but we exchanged our SnapChats and Instagrams and now we’re all buddy buddy.”
Section 1 Tournament
Round 1 at The Links at Union Vale (par 72). Round 2 at the Whippoorwill Club (par 73).
1. Emma Lee (Scarsdale) 72-73-145
2. Nina Choe (Ursuline) 74-75-149
3. Julia Kret (Ursuline) 78-77-149
3. Juyeon Paek (Greeley) 79-76-155
5. Sophia Nogalo (Ursuline) 78-84-162
5. Faith Petrino (Byram Hills/Fox Lane) 82-80-162
7. Mia Holbrook (John Jay) 80-83-163
8. Allison Kahn (Scarsdale) 84-81-165
9. Chelsea Wang (Rye Neck) 84-82-166
Did not qualify for states
10. Chloe Ji (Scarsdale) 88-79-167
11. Myla Bisceglia (Rye) 85-82-177
11. Maya Shirakura (Somers) 84-93-177
11. Olivia Naporano (Harrison) 86-91-177
14. Liya Chu (Scarsdale) 91-87-178
15. Sarah Brannigan (Ursuline) 90-91-181
16. Caelyn Deserre (Arlington) 92-90-182
17. Maura Forde (Clarkstown) 91-98-189
18. Rory Winston (Scarsdale) 94-98-192
19. Zoe Winston (Scarsdale) 97-96-193
20. Jameson McMorrow (Tappan Zee) 96-102-198
20. Ellie Bowen (Scarsdale) 92-106-198
Mike Dougherty covers golf for The Journal News and lohud.com. He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow along on Twitter @lohudgolf.
This article originally appeared on Rockland/Westchester Journal News: Scarsdale’s Emma Lee repeats at Section 1 girls golf tournament