MATTOON — It wasn't the best day on the course for Mattoon's Kira Wolf. Some of the bogeys were starting to add up, and there weren't enough birdies to even it out during the Class 2A Regional meet on Wednesday at Meadowview Country Club.
Wolf kept at it, though, and she got a birdie when it mattered the most. On the final hole, Wolf birdied to put her in a tie with Sacred Heart-Griffin's Emily Eades. Both golfers shot a 78 to tie for medalist honors, so they both went out for a playoff to determine who would receive the honor.
Wolf wound up parring the playoff hole, which was a stroke better than Eades, giving Wolf the 2A individual title.
"Today wasn't my best day, I wasn't very happy with how I was playing, but I tried to still fight and still put an okay score up," Wolf said. "I did okay I guess, but not what I was expecting to get at all."
Wolf moves on to the 2A sectional, which is at Panther Creek Country Club in Springfield on Monday. Wolf will be the only Mattoon golfer there as the Green Wave shot a 402 on the day, finishing outside of the top three teams.
Mattoon coach Natalie Ambuehl said Wolf had a key moment during the regional.
"We kept talking about these moments where it's a moment of growth or if it is going to get you or not. Today she managed to help hold in enough to not let it get her," Ambuehl said. "She had a couple of unfortunate breaks and that's the game of golf. I keep saying she's not done yet and I mean it. Her future is bright and she is going to find herself in more situations like this I think. When she went to warm up, I told her she was built for this thing. After we walked off the green, I told her so much of her hard work has paid off and it was so evident."
Wolf is used to shooting 75 or under at a tournament, so the 78 was a few strokes higher than where the sophomore wants to be. The birdie on 18 made Wolf feel better and she didn't know the impact that one birdie had at the time, either.
"I had no clue that I needed that to actually tie. She wasn't in my group. I knew that (the birdie) clinched it in my group," Wolf said. "Then it seemed like that's what got me in the playoff. So I was happy with the putt that got me the birdie."
Wolf started the playoff hole with a drive right down the middle of the fairway. Eades wasn't as lucky as her drive went under a tree. She punched out of the spot and the second shot rolled into the rough in front of a bunker. Wolf's second shot landed about 18 feet in front of the hole.
Eades third shot just rolled off the green onto the lip. Wolf followed with a putt that didn't get to as close to the hole as she wanted, about 5 feet off. Eades made it interesting as her first putt was only about a foot-and-a-half from the hole.
But Wolf recovered and sank her putt to come away with the medalist honors.
"My first putt was not very good. I just tried to get it up there close to try and make it," Wolf said. "I wasn't trying to scooch it too far past the hole or anything. I was just trying to put it in close quarters so I could make the par putt. My drive was really good and my approach shot was okay. It wasn't my best, but it wasn't bad."
Mattoon's Haleigh Miller shot a 107, which was higher than she's been shooting over the past few weeks, and that put her in a three-way tie with Bloomington's Madeline Christiansen and Chatham Glenwood's Taylor Martynowski for the final individual spot for the sectional meet. Miller and Christiansen both tied on the first playoff hole and Martynowski was eliminated. The two went to a second playoff hole and Christiansen edged Miller by a stroke for the final spot to sectionals, ending Miller's season. Miller is a junior, so she still has a season of golf left.
"She did not have her day and had she played what she has been shooting lately, she would've been in the top 10, no question, without having to go out there for a playoff," Ambuehl said. "Those situations are very teachable moments and it's a learning experience for her. Let's put her in that situation now where maybe there's something bigger in store for her next year and she's already been through it once and she can handle it.
"Kira and I will continue on and she would've liked some company, but it just didn't turn out that way for Haleigh. I hate it for her because she puts time in, too."
Sacred Heart-Griffin won the regional team crown with a 329, Champaign Central was second with a 374 and Springfield was third with a 387. Mattoon was 15 strokes back of Springfield with a 402 and finished in sixth place.
"The chance was there, it was ours to lose in some ways. We've beat Central before and I knew where some of their scores have been. We don't see Springfield on a regular basis and I kind of heard where some of their scores are," Ambuehl said. "Had we had a little better day from a few of the girls, who knows? I am not happy when we are over 400, I really like it better when we are under that of course. We shot a 377 not that long ago.
Meah Butler shot a 108 for Mattoon and Callan Haldorsen shot a 109. Katherine Carter-Alvis added a 113 and Sydney Allee shot a 115.