TUCSON - With matching scores and six-stroke leads over the field after the first round of play at the 4A girls golf state championship, it was rather obvious that either Esther Choe of Cave Creek Cactus Shadows or Kimberly Kim of Queen Creek would take first.
Aided by three birdies on her final four holes, Choe shot a final day 64 for a two-day total of 129 to edge out Kim, who shot a 67 to finish at 132. Her team was not as fortunate, though, as Cactus Shadows was edged by Tucson Catalina Foothills in the team standings Tuesday at Tucson's Dell Urich Golf Course.
In most tournaments, the leaders play together in the last grouping of the day.
But on this day, Kim took the course long before Choe, who was in the last group to finish. Rather than creating a climactic head-to-head finish, it made for a long waiting game.
Kim finished up with another strong 67, for a final total of 132.
"I was getting updates," Choe said. "From the rumors I was hearing, it seemed like it was five strokes. I felt like I had to play really well. I shot birdies on 15, 16, and 17.
"I wanted to play my own game and let the birdies happen. When you try to force birdies, it doesn't happen. I was more relaxed at the end."
Lauren Weaver of Cactus Shadows and Codie Wintrode of Catalina Foothills tied for third at 145. Sun Park of Vail Cienega shot a 150 for fifth.
Catalina Foothills appeared to have the team title wrapped up after posting a 17-stroke lead after one round of play. However, a furious second round by Cactus Shadows put it in the hunt.
Cactus Shadows finished with a second-day total of 295 for a 608 final score. Catalina Foothills held them off with a second-day total of 306 for a 602 final score.
"We had a horrible day yesterday," Choe said. "It's a bummer. It's a sad day for all of us."
Cactus Shadows also got great play from Ellie Conser (88-76—164), Rebecca Schneider (88-86—174) and Kelli Nakano (92-82—174).
Scottsdale Chaparral (346-350-696) finished third and was led by Dana Stapleton (83-81-164) and Lauren Nehf (84-82-166).
Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep (349-362-711) was fifth and was led by Natalie Langhorst (83-85-168) and Jackie Chang (80-90-170).