The Woodland girls golf team finished runner-up in the Class 5A Area 4 championship Tuesday at Heritage Golf Links in Tucker. With the result, the Wildcats, who shot 307 as a team, qualified for the upcoming state tournament.

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The 2018 Woodland girls golf team didn’t even have enough players complete the 18-hole round at the area tournament to produce a team score. A year later, the 2019 Woodland girls golf team is headed to state.

All that’s needed to produce a team score is to have three players finish the round. It’s not as easy as it sounds, because the girls go from playing mostly nine-hole rounds during the regular season to an 18-hole event.

“We had two girls finish 18 holes last year,” Woodland head coach Colman Roberts said. “I told them, when we got done that day in Carrollton at the area tournament, ‘Next year, our goal is for everybody to make the turn, and we could possibly qualify for state.’ We did, because they worked hard this year.”

In order to qualify for state, the Wildcats needed to shoot under 330. However, they also had to finish in the top five in the Class 5A Area 4 tournament Tuesday at Heritage Golf Links in Tucker.

Due to balanced scoring, Woodland easily checked off both objectives.

Sophomore Emily Nycum led the way with a 100; senior Elizabeth Nycum followed closely behind with a 102; and 10th-grader Erin Evans rounded out the scoring with a 105. Senior Kaylee Jones shot a 124 with alternate Cassie Moore also in attendance.

The Wildcats’ 307 placed them second among the 11 teams that competed. They even finished just 10 shots behind area champion Carrollton, which finished fourth at state last year.

Roberts said being paired with the Trojans during Tuesday’s event might have helped give his team the added push to shoot a low score.

“I think it helped playing with Carrollton today,” he said. “Maybe it pushed us to play better. … That was a tough golf course today.”

Roberts said the hilly nature of Heritage made for a grueling day, as did the temperature, which hovered in the mid-80s. He did think the Wildcats’ home course of Woodland Hills prepared the team for the toughness of walking the uneven terrain.

Even still, Roberts didn’t know if his team had a realistic chance to qualify for the state tournament, which will take place May 20-21 at Sunset Hills Country Club in Carrollton.

His girls had consistently shot around 50 over nine holes. Doubling that would easily put the Wildcats below the 330 cutoff, but then there was the matter of not finishing outside the top-five.

Cartersville fell victim to that caveat during its area tournament Tuesday. The Canes finished with a 330 exactly, but they placed seventh in the field.

“I didn’t really think about it,” Roberts said of whether his team would qualify. “Based on our scores, yes, but they were very nervous today with it being the area tournament. I didn’t really know.”

Woodland will have a chance to produce a decent team finish if they can card three similar scores in Carrollton. An average of 307 over the two days would have been good enough for 10th in last year’s state tourney.

Playing at a different course than the 2018 area tournament, which took place at Carrollton’s Oak Mountain Golf Club, the upcoming state tourney will give Woodland one last chance to make a statement.

But in a lot of ways, the Wildcats have already achieved their primary goal for this season following Tuesday’s stellar showing.

“I knew we were playing well,” Roberts said. “… We basically knew we were already in, shooting under a 330, but we didn’t know we were going to get a trophy. Getting second place and qualifying is unbelievable.”