DECATUR — Megan Thiravong was quick to credit her support base after closing out another strong high school golf season in the IHSA Class 1A State Championship at Red Tail Run Golf Course this past weekend.
Thiravong overcame back-to-back double bogeys during the first half of her opening round on Friday to score 78 and end the 18-hole round tied for 14th place out of over 100 players. The Rochelle junior and three-time state qualifier birdied twice on the front nine Saturday and once on the back nine to card a season-best, 2-over-par 74 and end the tournament tied for 12th place with an 8-over-par 152.
Thiravong dropped eight strokes from her sophomore state performance, where she placed 20th with 160. The Lady Hub standout also removed 31 strokes from finishing tied for 65th place with 183 at the state tournament her freshman season.
“It’s such an honor to represent Rochelle and RTHS,” Thiravong said. “My score improving has mostly been from my parents pushing me through golf. I’m so happy that I have coach [Glen] Mehrings and coach [David] Cartwright to support me at state each year.”
Thiravong teed off the state championship Friday morning with five consecutive pars on the back nine before carding two double bogeys on the 15th and 16th holes. Thiravong recovered nicely with a birdie on the par-5 18th hole to come around the front with 39. The Interstate 8 Conference champion totaled six pars and three bogeys for another 39.
“Having both of my coaches there helped me calm down through the process,” Thiravong said. “Even when I wasn’t playing my best, they were there to help me stay focused and keep going. The first day was a little different because I wanted to play more conservatively and make sure I was in the running for a good place. I wanted to be more aggressive on the second day so I could keep my rank up and shoot well for the remainder of the tournament.”
Having started on the more difficult back nine Friday, Thiravong teed off Saturday morning on the front nine, bogeying the first and fifth holes but birdying the third and sixth holes to remain even on the round. A bogey on the eighth hole put Thiravong at a 1-over-par 37 heading into the back nine, where she birdied the par-4 10th to drop back to even.
Thiravong parred three straight holes soon after, but bogeys on the 14th and 15th holes moved her to 2-over-par on the round. The junior parred the final three holes to card 37 on the back nine and finish tied for 12th place with Sacred Heart-Griffin’s Rachel Ducaji. While Thiravong fell a little short of her top-10 aspirations, she’s motivated to cement her legacy as a senior in 2020.
“I had such a great time with the girls I played with,” Thiravong said. “I didn’t really worry about my score until the end and I didn’t even think a 74 was right. The key for me was to stay calm and focused while I played. If you miss a putt or make a bad shot in golf, you have to be able to brush it off and keep going.”