CHARLTON — The MIAA girls’ golf championship teed off with a shotgun start at 8:30 Wednesday morning at Heritage Country Club.
A little after 3, there were only two players remaining on the course, Concord-Carlisle freshman Gabrielle Shieh and Boston Latin’s Anne Walsh, another ninth-grader, both turning heads with their sterling play in an unprecedented eight-hole playoff for the individual title.
“That was some of the finest golf I’ve seen at pretty much any level,” said Concord-Carlisle coach Josh Gianotsos.
“I was pretty impressed how calm both players were, they exercised great sportsmanship and awesome play.”
Each player turned in a 6-over par 78 card through 18 holes, resulting in the playoff starting on the first hole.
“[I’ve never been in a match] that challenging, nowhere near,” said Shieh, who tapped in a short putt for bogey to secure the title after a nice approach onto the green on the 305-yard par 4 eighth hole.
The Wellesley girls, meanwhile, edged Notre Dame-Hingham by two strokes, 383-385, for the team title after a runner-up finish last year. Notre Dame’s Eliana Da Andrade carded the lowest score (84) between the two teams, but Wellesley, led by Caroline Lane (93), had a more balanced finish, with Luisa Coakley submitting a 94 and Malina Rufo a 97.
“I was just so overjoyed for the girls and I know that hey were incredibly excited to have accomplished what we accomplished today,” said Wellesley coach Ken Bateman.
Initially, the playoff drew a crowd of nearly 100. However, by the time Shieh had dropped her final putt, the group had shrunk to roughly 15.
“I just tried to focus on the shot I was at and not think ‘Oh well, if I mess up, it’s going to cost me the match’,” said Shieh.
On the eighth hole, both players drove the center of the fairway. But on her approach, Walsh’s ball shot past the green and into the brush on the other side of the cart path. She chipped into the rough to try to salvage the hole but double bogeyed, allowing Shieh to then close out the match.
The championship was postponed nine days because of wet weather on June 5. But while the delay gave some additional time for preparation, it added its own set of obstacles as well.
“It’s been kind of a hectic week trying to practice for the tournament this week and studying for finals,” added Shieh.
The nine-day delay forced Wellesley to compete for a state title minus its No. 2 golfer, Ciara James, who is currently in Ireland. “She was consistently our second-best golfer all year. She had our second-best scoring average, and she was a medalist a couple of times and she was a rallying point for a lot of the girls.”
The next step for the top 12 finishers — at the discretion of the tournament director — will be the New England championships next Wednesday at Bretwood Golf Course in Keene, N.H.