JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — A lot of being a freshman in high school is learning to fit into the new environment. For Sanaa Carter, the adjustment came quickly — just like everything else she’s done on the golf course.
Carter, a freshman at Jacksonville High School, finished just two shots off the lead last week at the Class 3-A East Regional golf tournament at Lockwood Folly Country Club in Varnamtown, just southwest of Wilmington. Her third-place finish qualified her for the state championships, which will be held Monday and Tuesday at Foxfire Resort in Jackson Springs, just a ways from Pinehurst.
Carter finished at plus-7 with a score of 79 on the par-72 course at Lockwood. The winner was Jillian Fatkin, also a freshman at South Brunswick. In fact, Carter was one of four freshmen to finish in the top 10 at the regional. Four sophomores also finished in the top 10.
During regionals, I realized the intensity level goes up because every stroke matters,” Carter said. “Going into the state (championships), I know I need to be on my game and play my best golf.”
That hasn’t been too hard for Carter over the last year. Among her accomplishments are:
- 2020 Paradise Point Golf Course (Camp Lejeuje) Women’s Champion
- Named to The Tarheel Youth Golf Association All-State Middle School Team (2020 & 2021)
- 2021 TYGA Tournament of Champions (14-15 Girls Champion)
- 2021 Eastern Carolina Junior Golf League Girls Champion
- Jacksonville High School Freshman scoring average of 36
- Low round high school match of 33 (-3 under par) at Carolina Colours Golf Club on Sept. 20
“My stroke average has been improving throughout the season,” Carter said. “I set goals for myself at the beginning of the season to accomplish big things and I put in the work everyday to get better.”
Carter began playing golf at age 8 after watching her father play. It didn’t take long to see she had the talent and skills to play the game.
An example of her success came during the 2021 Eastern Carolina Junior Golf League girls championship. She dominated in the 14-18 age group during the season, winning all four matches she played. In the championship round, she finished in a tie with Julie Fielder, a top junior golfer at The Emerald who has been recognized as one of the best in the area.
Carter won the match on the third playoff hole to claim the title.
“One day, I asked (her dad) to play golf and he signed me up for less at Chibana Golf Club,” Carter said. “I really enjoyed meeting other junior golfers and I love to play some of the best golf courses in the North Carolina.”
Carter will be playing with two other qualifiers starting at 8:27 a.m. on Monday. On Tuesday, golfers will have one final chance to shore up their Monday score with a chance to win a state title.
Win or lose, Carter said the golf season won’t end but for now, she’s enjoying the experience and optimistic about her future in the sport.
I am a golfer, there is not offseason, and if the weather allows, then I am out a Jacksonville Country Club trying to get better,” Carter said.
“My plans after state finals are to compete in some high-ranked junior golf tournaments in the state and hopefully some out of the state. I have been invited to play in the PKBGT (Peggy Kirk Bell Girls Golf Tour) Regional Tournament of Champions this November (in Hilton Head Island, S.C.).