FORT WAYNE – Katie Sharps been close to a state championship before – real close – and she might be playing her best golf ever just in time to take that next step.
I want to do well because it is my last year, Sharp said of the state finals. I just want to have fun because this is the last time I am going to do it. I want to enjoy every bit of it.
Pretty much from summer to this time of the year, my game turns out pretty good because I played in summer tournaments, which is good for these (high school) tournaments. I am ready to go.
Sharp tied her personal best with a 7-under 65 at Noble Hawk two weeks ago in the sectional and won medalist honors by 15 strokes. She came back with a 1-under 71 in the regional at Cobblestone on Monday.
It gives me a lot of confidence, Sharp said of shooting the 65. It showed me that I can be confident in my game, and that I can expect to do those kinds of scores normally.
The two scores rank as the best (65) and fifth-best (71) postseason score in the state.
She was one of the favorites last year too, East Noble coach Richard Bentz said.
You have to be good to win state, but you have to get some breaks too. You have to be the one who gets on the hot streak. There always seems to be someone who gets hot.
The East Noble senior finished fifth, second and 11th in three previous tries at The Legends course in Franklin.
She would like to win a state championship, I am sure of that, Bentz said. She doesnt want second; shes already been second.
Sharp got into some trouble early in the second round last year and finished with rounds of 77 and 81 (158).
Last year, she got a tough break on the first hole and had a tough time recovering from it, Bentz said. She might have hit some shots she might not normally hit trying to take risks in getting back into it because you know you have to in order to catch up.
After making a commitment to Michigan State, its been all about closing her high school career in style.
Now that she has already committed to a school, I dont think she is as stressed out about (winning state), Bentz said. She doesnt feel like she has to win it to prove anything.
The competition will be tough for Sharp at The Legends.
The defending state champion, Chestertons Kelly Grassel, is back and so are eight of the top-10 finishers from a year ago. Grassel won the sectional tournament in a playoff and placed third at the regional and led the Trojans to their fifth consecutive appearance at The Legends.
Sharp wont be the only northeast Indiana golfer chasing a state title with Concordia senior Melissa Greener getting into her first state finals after shooting an 80 at Cobblestone, good for fourth place.
I really dont know what lies ahead, Greener said.
(Todays) the first round and Saturdays the second round, and hopefully on Sunday we will be celebrating.