The storied career of Hartselle senior Jinger Heath ended in Auburn with her hoisting the 6A state championship trophy.
“It was such an unbelievable experience at the state championships,” Heath said. “I will remember that for the rest of my life. I was so happy that I could end my season with a win. I have been preparing for this tournament all year and am glad I could accomplish it.”
Heath, participating in her fifth state championships, came into day two trailing Yvette Gordon of Pike Road. However, her experience on the championship stage played huge dividends on the final day of play.
She shot a 1-under through nine holes, just one shot back of Gordon going into the final nine holes.
Heath dominated the back nine on day one, shooting a 3-under 33 to finish with a 70 going into round two.
After a par on hole 10, Heath would birdie 11, 12 and 14 to move to 4-under with four holes remaining. She had gone from one back to three shots up on Gordon.
Needing a par on hole 18 to win the state championship, Heath landed her approach shot within six feet of the hole. She went on to birdie the hole to finish the day with a 67, three shots better than Gordon.
Her domination of the back nine was the difference in the tournament. She shot 7-under on her two trips through the back nine, while Gordon shot 2-under.
Heath, who will play collegiately for Jax State and Hartselle alum Coach Robbie Fields, is the second individual state champion in the past five years, joining Mikayla Dubnik, who won in 2018.
Her 137 total for two rounds ties for the fourth-lowest score of all-time at the girls’ state championships.
Many people have poured themselves into Heath’s career before hoisting the state championship trophy.
“I’ve said this many times, but I would not be where I am without all the support behind me,” Heath said. “I have been so blessed and lucky to have many people caring about me. Making it to the state championships will make you realize how many people care about you.”
Heath was coached by Will Lang, Jessie Perrin and Chad Gladden at Hartselle. Colby Odom has been her instructor for several years.
“Colby Odom has been a huge part of my success. Without his instruction, my game would not be where it is today,” Heath added. “I have had some amazing high school coaches at Hartselle, including Coach Perrin, who has spent the last two years helping coach me. Coach Perrin has impacted my life more than he will know.”
Finally, she said this day would not have been possible without God and her family.
“God has given me the ability to play golf. Apart from Him, I am nothing,” Heath said. “My family has been there with me through it all. My mom and dad have always pushed me to get better. My older brother is the person I look up to most. Ryley is not only an amazing golfer but also an amazing role model in life.”