One hole into the High School Invitational, and Smith Knaffle already was muttering to herself.
An opening double bogey will do that. Poor tee shot, poor second shot, chunked wedge into a bunker -- hey, things could only get better from here.
"Just get it back together," Knaffle told herself.
It wasn't immediate, but it was effective. Seven birdies eventually produced a 3-under-par 69, giving the St. James freshman a share of the individual lead with Wando's Kate Harper and helping the Sharks to the top of the team standings at The Sanctuary at Cat Island.
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"This is a kid with a ton of heart and a ton of fight," St. James coach Kenn Francis said. "That's kind of been her thing this whole season -- she's really angry with bogeys and tries to fight back with as many birdies as possible. I love that about her."
The Sharks also got contributions from Jordan White (80) and Steely Hays (81) to produce a team total of 230, three shots better than Traveler's Rest. Wando was another stroke behind at 234, with defending HSI champion and reigning AAAA winner Lexington at 240.
"We're obviously excited to be in that position, but there's still work to be done," Francis said. "Our team motto this year is 'Stay in the Moment.' It's never over until you're going home."
Said Knaffle: "We're coming off a win last weekend, so it'd be nice to go back-to-back. Lexington is a hard team to beat, though. They're darn good."
Bluffton was seventh after the opening round, led by 78s from Sophia Burnett and Kathryn Thorne. Hilton Head Island stood 14th, topped by Meredith Wipper's 79.
Harper recorded five birdies in her 69, including a pair via long-distance putts. She drained a 30-footer at the par-3 13th hole, then saw another drop from about 25 feet just two holes later.
"That was nice to see," said Harper, who was pleased to see The Sanctuary's greens rolling faster than the ones back at her home course. "I like faster greens, and these are definitely faster than what we've been playing at home. Ours got (aerated), so they've been really slow recently."
Harper, a senior, captured the Beth Daniel Junior Azalea last month in Charleston. Not long after that, she committed to playing college golf at the University of Virginia.
Knaffle didn't make her first birdie until five holes into her round, and still was at even-par through 12 holes before a finishing flurry. She birdied four of her last six, including a chip-in at the par-3 fourth that followed her final bogey of the day.
"I wasn't hitting the ball perfect," she said. "I was just getting it around good. I got it up-and-down (for par) a good few times."