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Demps battles back from injury to win Sunrise golf

A car accident took away most of Tameka Demps’ golf season. The Silverado junior more than made up for it Wednesday.

Demps, who missed most of the season recovering from a thumb injury sustained in a Sept. 1 accident, won a one-hole playoff against Coronado’s Melanie Chambers to capture the individual title at the Class 4A Sunrise Region meet at Silverstone Golf Course.

“For her to do that, it’s just amazing,” Silverado coach Kevin Schwallie said. “It just shows how much character and how much dedication she has.”

Silverado also won the team competition, tying with Coronado at 351 and advancing on the fifth-player tie-breaker. Silverado’s fifth player shot a 107. Coronado did not have a fifth score.

The meet began Tuesday but was suspended due to darkness. Demps and Chambers completed their 18-hole rounds with a 7-over-par 79 Tuesday. They waited until the remaining golfers finished before the playoff.

Demps bogeyed the 18th hole, but it was good enough.

Demps resumed playing competitively only last week. She was injured when a car her brother was driving went out of control. Tameka was fortunate to walk away with only a sprained right thumb.

But it kept her from playing with her team.

“In a way, it kind of helped me,” said Demps, who finished fourth in last year’s state meet. “It was like a break. I was unsure of myself after five weeks off, but I was pretty happy with how I played.”

Demps continued working during the time off.

“She was putting at her house,” Schwallie said. “She was doing everything she could up until the point when the doctor said she could go full swing. She’s out there early in the morning and late at night.”

Brittany Rizzetto added an 80 for the Skyhawks, who, along with Coronado will head to Reno for the state meet, which begins Monday.

“It’s definitely better that the team won,” Demps said. “I’ll take the team winning over me (winning) any time.”

Chambers and Demps were both near the green on the par-5 18th hole after three strokes, but Chambers, a freshman, struggled with her pitch shot onto the green. She sent a second effort past the hole and didn’t make a bogey putt.

“She played consistent all year,” said Coronado coach Joe Sawaia. “She’s been one of the top players every time we played this year and it showed again.”

Qualifying teams could enter as many as six golfers in the tournament, but Coronado went with just four. Coronado’s fifth golfer hasn’t shot better than a 56 for nine holes this season.

“Our girls really played well on the back side, especially,” Sawaia said. “I’m really pleased, excited about going to state. It would have been nice to win the tiebreaker, but this is really like a semifinal anyway.”

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