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Gateway girls golfer scheduled to play in national tournament in S.C.

| Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Sophomore Johnna Beehner had another strong season this fall for the Gateway varsity girls golf team.

The Gators team leader in scoring average placed seventh at the WPIAL championship, advanced past a regional tournament and golfed at states for the second time in as many seasons.

Although the season ended almost a month ago, Beehner has not put the clubs away.

In fact, she is preparing for an upcoming weekend of competition on the sunny coast of South Carolina.

Beehner is one of more than 200 junior golfers from across the U.S. who will compete at the 45th George Holliday Junior Tournament in Myrtle Beach, S.C., over Thanksgiving weekend.

She will play all three courses at the famed Myrtle Beach National Golf Club — King's North, the West Course and South Creek.

“It's going to be exciting to play with some of the top (junior) players in the country,” Beehner said.

All golfers from 13 to 18 years of age are entered based on age, and Beehner will be in the 15-18 age division.

It is the fifth year in a row the tournament will be three rounds.

The tournament was established to honor George Holliday, a successful junior and collegiate golfer who was killed in a 1967 automobile accident at the age of 22.

His family created the tournament to give junior golfers an opportunity to experience this level of national golf.

Beehner finished near the bottom of the pack at the two-day, 36-hole PIAA AAA tournament at Heritage Hills in York.

She said she will use the tournament as a learning experience.

“Nothing was coming together,” she said about the tough two-round stretch.

“I couldn't pull it all together to play a good round of golf. I was hitting the ball well, but I just wasn't hitting accurately enough to put myself in position for pars or birdies.”

One of the top highlights of the season was a clutch performance at WPIALs, where she claimed the seventh and final qualifying spot to move on to regionals with a win in a one-hole playoff.

“I thought I had a good season this year,” Beehner said.

Beehner also said the team overall had a good season and is looking forward to next fall.

“I am really excited,” she said.

“At the end of the year, the scoring averages for everyone came down drastically. If everyone keeps at it, we can get more wins next year.”

Gateway finished 1-11 in Section 3-AAA play, and the Gators topped Franklin Regional, 206-220, on the final day of section competition.

Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 at mlove@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Mlove_Trib.

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