It may not have been her best round, but Havelock’s Madison Sloan is going back to the state golf championships.
Sloan shot a 92 at the 3A East Regionals Monday at Birchwood Country Club to qualify for the state tournament.
It’s her second straight trip to the state tourney, scheduled for Monday and Tuesday at Longleaf Golf and Country Club in Southern Pines.
The senior has been scoring in the low 80s for most of the season. Her season-best was a 6-over-par 77 three weeks ago at River Bend Golf and Country Club.
She shot 85 in a Coastal 3A Conference tournament last week at Carolina Pines and finished second overall. Two tee shots out of bounds cost her a chance at medalist honors for the day.
"It was not my best," she said. "I can usually hit it well off the tee."
Sloan hits the ball about 220 yards off the tee, but she knows playing well around the greens will be a key at the state championships.
"My short game, if it’s on, I can do really well," she said. "With my short game, I can keep my score down."
In last year’s state championships, Sloan tied for 40th in the field of 77 players. She shot scores of 104 and 100.
"I’m definitely planning on finishing a lot higher than last year," she said. "I’m planning on being in the competition."
As for the regionals, the one-day tournament means players have just one chance to reach the state tournament.
"It’s a lot of pressure, but you just have to play your game," she said.
Her familiarity with the Birchwood layout helped.
"We play the course a lot. I like it. It’s fairly straight," she said. "They changed the greens, so I wasn’t sure how they were going to be this year."
Sloan said she got hooked on golf at a young age and has been playing ever since.
"Everybody in my family is really involved in it," she said. "They took me out when I was younger, and I just started liking it."
Havelock coach Matt James said Sloan’s passion for golf has helped her improve.
"Madison wanted to be good, and she made herself good, and she’s spent four years making herself better," James said. "That’s no credit to me. She’s done that on her own with help from her dad and other people. She took it upon herself to get better."
James said a key to Sloan’s play has been her enjoyment of the game.
"She’s a lot less anxious," he said. "I see her out there, and she’s a little loose and having fun and enjoying the game instead of putting a lot of pressure on herself."
Besides Sloan, Havelock had three other players qualify for the regional tournament. Catelyn Tobin shot 120, Delaney Daggett shot 123 and Rachel Nelson had a 131.