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Mitchell misses state tournament by one stroke

Alyson Mitchell learned the hard way this week that one mistake can prove costly.

Mitchell, 15,

represented Charles Henderson at the Girls' Sectional Golf Tournament in Mobile this week. She finished third out of 41 golfers in the sectional with a total score of 80. However, she would have gone to the state championships with a second-place finish.

Her margin of error, though, was very small. Mitchell finished only one stroke behind the second-place finisher, who shot a 79.

"If I had been one stroke better, I would have been in a playoff to go to state," Mitchell said.

Mitchell had several opportunities to look back and wonder after her eight-over-par performance on the par-72 course. She made par 10 times and hit eight bogeys.

However, one particular shot makes her think about what might have been.

"There was this short putt I had; I didn't take my time and it broke more than I thought it did," Mitchell said. "I barely missed it. When you get back in and find out you lost by one stroke, it makes you think about that."

Part of the problem Mitchell had was inexperience. Mitchell said she did not get to play a practice round and was not familiar with the course.

"I hit with my driver on a bunch of holes I shouldn't have," Mitchell said. "I put a lot of balls into the woods and lost some strokes that way."

Mitchell advanced to the state championships two years ago as an eighth grader but did not participate in last year's sectional because she suffered a broken thumb falling out of a golf cart.

Future University of Alabama golfer Amy Middleton won the tournament with a three-under-par 69.

Mitchell fared better at the two-person scramble at Troy Country Club last weekend. At that tournament, she and partner Alton Starling shot a 58-59 for a four-stroke win.

She and Starling were tops out of 57 teams in that tournament.