PITTSFORD — Good golf can happen just as quickly as bad golf, a lesson Jillian Miles and Mia Politano took to heart on Tuesday.
Rutland High School’s Miles shook off a poor front nine and rallied her team to win the Division I girls golf state championships at Proctor-Pittsford with a medalist 89.
Otter Valley’s Politano survived something that would give plenty of good golfers a fit: a triple-bogeyed opening hole.
Still, she not only settled in to lead Division II, but posted the best score of either tournament with an 84.
Lake Region, the favored team coming in, shot 198 and took the girls D-II crown. OV finished second at 208.
It was the second straight D-II medal for Politano.
Rutland posted 191 to edge North Country (194) and St. Johnsbury (195).
Politano, a member of a golfing family that includes her father, Ralph Myhre pro Paul Politano, and her sister/teammate, Erika, took some mental armor out to the course with her.
After making a 7 on the short first, she settled in and played the front side at 39, with a birdie on the par-5 fourth hole.
“I just tried to keep a level head,” said the Otter Valley junior. “I was medalist last year and that put a little pressure on me.”
She played the fourth in textbook fashion, with a drive down the left side and a second shot that left an open avenue to a green guarded by an elbow of trees.
Politano used a solid short game to help rescue her back nine, where she rebounded from a couple of double bogeys.
She made back-to-back par saves on back-to-back doglegs. In the first instance, she hit her tee ball into a bunker at the elbow, then nearly hit the green with a long bunker shot of some 125 yards.
Tia Martinez shot 88 to lead Lake Region under first-year coach Ray Perkins.
“I’m happy with it but she was a little disappointed because she was a stroke out of medalist last year,” Perkins said.
“I’m thrilled (with 198).”
Northfield was third at 225, followed by Milton (247) and U-32 (248).
Miles and Kristin Pariseau (102) led the Raiders as Miles rallied after stumbling along to a 49 on the front side. She posted 40 on the back, hitting four greens.
“You see that out a lot of people who are good at golf,” said Rutland assistant Jonathan Brisbane.
“I’m thrilled,” said head coach Rich Alberti. “They’re competitive but they’re nice about it. You make suggestions and they go out and work on stuff. I’ve enjoyed working with them.”
Miles, who posted an 89 during last summer’s women’s state amateur, righted herself quickly on the back nine, where she hit her first three greens. The power-hitting sophomore has taken a suggestion from Brisbane, cutting down her backswing and making better contact as a result.
“I guess I just relaxed a little bit,” she said of the back nine.
“I definitely feel like I turned it around. I’m definitely happy with what I shot.” “We have kids with good golf swings and they don’t blow up mentally,” Alberti said.
Another key hole for Miles was the long, uphill 16th, where she got up and down from just short of the green.
Miles and Pariseau have been two of the south’s top golfers all season.
“They made great strides at the end of the year, both in tournament play and technique,” Brisbane said.
Burr and Burton finished fourth in D-I at 203, followed by CVU at 211, South Burlington at 221, Essex at 222, Colchester at 252 and Burlington at 282.
Division I scores
1, Rutland (191), Miles 89, Pariseau 102 2, North Country (194), Grace Giroux 94, Sophia Clement 100 3, St. Johnsbury (195), Pearl Hudson 93, Catherine Wang 102 4, Burr and Burton (203), Grace McDonald 99, Emma Tobin 104 5, CVU (211), Taylor Hoar 103, Courtney Vincent 108 6, South Burlington (221), Bennett Sage 100, Olivia Worcester 121 7, Essex (222), Ashley Stempek 103, Mary McGovern 119 8, Colchester (252), Jayme Baldwin 114, Caitlyn Conners 138 9, Burlington (282), Ella Becker 147, Maddie Tulkop 135.
Division II scores
1, Lake Region (198), Martinez 88, Madeleine Racine 110 2, Otter Valley (208), Mia Politano 84, Erika Politano 124 3, Northfield (25), Faith Hoagland 115, Abigail Hebert 110 4, Milton (247), Samantha Bowman 115, Kim Jennings 132 5, U-32 (248), Jenna Mekkelsen 120, Elizabeth Guthrie 128.
Division II individuals
Allie Leah, Mid-Vermont Christian 103 Kasey Barton, Lyndon, 122 Lexi James, Stowe, 112 Emily Dean, Woodstock, 99.