Mia Gray of Conway, 13, won her first Carolinas Golf Association title Tuesday at the 12th Carolinas Girls’ 15 and Under Championship at the Country Club of Whispering Pines in Whispering Pines, N.C.
After taking an eight-stroke lead with a 3-under 69 that included six birdies in the first round, she earned a two-stroke win over Molly Hardwick of Lexington with a 78 Tuesday for a 3-over 147 total.
Gray is a rising eighth-grader at Ocean Bay Middle School and plays for Carolina Forest High girls’ team. She made a birdie on her first hole in the second round but admitted to feeling nerves and stumbled a bit on the remainder of the front nine. She rebounded with two birdies on the back nine and retained her lead to the finish.
“I’m very excited to win this trophy,” Gray said. “I’ve been trying to win a tournament all summer, so this is my very first one.”
It’s not her first title in golf, however. Last fall Gray won the Region VI-5A title for Carolina Forest High as a seventh-grader and finished seventh in the 5A state championship.
She also won her age/gender division in the Drive, Chip & Putt Championship local qualifier at Legends Golf Resort each year from 2015-17.
Gray moved with her parents to Conway about 10 years ago from Chesapeake Beach, Md. Her mother, Cindi, works for IBM and her father, Mike, owned a golf store that provided Mia clubs as an infant. He sold it before he semi-retired with the move south. “My job is to take her around to tournaments now,” said Mike, who has had his handicap index down to 4 and is still a single-digit handicap.
Gray is next headed to the U.S. Kids Golf Teen World Championship in Pinehurst, N.C., from July 26-28.