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'Shot by shot' mindset leads Jefferson's Celi Chapman to State B championship

Posted at 6:01 PM, May 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-19 20:01:20-04

FAIRMONT — The weather at Fairmont Hot Springs may have done an about-face between the first and second rounds of the State B golf tournament, but Jefferson's Celi Chapman never wavered.

A year after settling for a runner-up finish, Chapman remained steady and locked in, carding an 81 in both rounds to claim the title by five strokes over defending champion Emma Woods of Fairfield.

"It was rough today," Chapman said of the winds that whipped across the course all afternoon. "Definitely short game and putting was tough and even some approach shots. You'd hit it up into the wind and it just looked a wall and dropped."

Chapman was at once dueling an elite golfer in Woods, battling the elements and coping with the pressure of not wanting to replicate last season's tournament where she added four strokes in the second round to allow Woods to handily win the title.

"It's kind of hard not to think about," she said. "I just kind of went out there was like 'well, the only thing I can control is myself.' So I kind of just tried to focus on that and focus on my game and just let it be what it was."

Overcoming all that mental pressure required a simple strategy.

"I just take it shot by shot," Chapman said. "Just always try to do my best and not really thing about what's in the past."

The Panthers ultimately took home two championships, as the Jefferson boys fended off defending champ Columbus by 12 strokes, preventing the Cougars from a repeat sweep of the team titles.

It was the first time the Jefferson boys had ever qualified as a state team.

"That was really awesome, I was really proud for them," Chapman said. "It was the first time that our boys had even made it to state. We have a lot of really good golfers."

Still just a junior, Chapman will eventually get a chance to defend her title. In the meantime, she'll be out on the fairway as often as possible this summer as she begins thinking about her college options.

"I'm gonna do lots of tournaments this summer and I guess just looking for colleges in my next battle," she said.