AUSTINBURG — As a golfer, there were two accomplishments Nia Gribbons had yet to experience.
The first was finishing a round under 100 and the second landing atop the leaderboard at the end of 18 holes.
After Tuesday, the Geneva junior can cross both of those milestones of her list.
Gribbons parred seven holes on her way to a career best round of 91 to win the Karl Pearson Invitational at Maple Ridge Golf Course as the high school links season teed off.
Starting on the 17th hole, she said her first shot off the tee set the tone for the day.
“I had a really beautiful drive and I felt like today was going to be a great day,” Gribbons said.
Aside from the seven pars, what also made it a great day was her ability to minimize damage when her shots were not beautiful.
“I did have two sevens, so that scared me a little,” Gribbons said. “Hole No. 9, I got stuck behind a tree and I didn’t want to go left because I’d be farther from the hole, but I didn’t want to go right because there was sand. So, I just gave it my shot and it went right on the green, and I was able to par that hole.”
Being able to stay away from trouble when facing tough lies was a big part of Gribbons success Tuesday, but the bigger factor was the work she put in during the months leading up to the start of the season.
“Any kid that works in the off-season is going to improve,” Geneva coach Randy Ankron said. “It’s more than just working in the offseason, it’s what you put into that work and anything Nia does she puts 100 percent into. And the work she put in was evident today.”
Gribbons held off Chardon’s Lyndsie Sharp, who fired a 94 for second place. Chardon took the girls team trophy home with a score of 419.
Geneva finished second at 438, followed by Perry at 455 and Madison with a 503.
On the boys side, Madison’s Austin Davidson took the top prize with a round of 76. Unlike, Gribbons, Davidson said he didn’t feel great at the start, but picked up as his day went along.
“The first couple holes I didn’t do well at all,” he said. “But after that, I got a bogey then started to par out.”
After starting four shots over after his first three holes, Davidson, a sophomore, posted back-to-back pars on 8 and 9. He recorded a bogey on 10, but then parred the next seven before scoring a birdie on 18 for the win.
He credited his approach towards the green more than anything for the score he turned in.
“The pitching wedge was probably my best club today,” Davidson said. “My driver was okay, got out there and was able to make my putts.”
Madison coach Tom Hupertz said his round was maybe not expected, but not surprising, either.
“I don’t know about expected, but he’s really been working hard this summer,” the coach said of Davidson. “He started coming on last season shooting an 84 and 86 at Quail Hollow, so he’s really been working on his game, so it was not unexpected, but a really good round by him. He has a real good demeanor and he has a real good short game and he’s not wild, he doesn’t usually get himself in trouble.”
Geneva won the boys competition with a 335. Madison was second at 344, followed by Edgewood with a 351, Perry 364, St. John 479 and Lakeside 492.
Second place to Ryan Green, of Edgewood, who finished a stroke back of Davidson with a 77. Geneva’s Braden Dragon was two shots of the pace at 79.
Edgewood athletic director Steve Kray was once again coordinator for the event. Kray complimented Maple Ridge for hosting the event and Applebee’s Restaurant for providing food for all the golfers and coaches.