26Todd Edge Cape Fear golf27Toni Blackwell Cape Fear golfComing off the best girls golf season in Cape Fear High School history, coach Todd Edge said he looks at the 2018 campaign with cautious optimism.

Among the biggest reasons for Edge’s positive outlook is the return of Toni Blackwell, who dominated individual play in the Patriot Athletic Conference last season. She was the only player in the conference to break 80 for the season, averaging 78.6 during the seven regular-season matches.

Blackwell helped lead the Colts to their first-ever North Carolina High School Athletic Association regional title and was one of five Colts who qualified for last year’s state 3-A tournament.

“I think she’s tournament ready,’’ Edge said of Blackwell. “She’s working on her game and changing her swing.’’

The swing change is a work in progress and could cause Blackwell some problems early in this year’s high school season as she continues to adjust.

“Her swing coach has promised her in a couple of months she will see some results that will give her more distance and accuracy,’’ Edge said.

Blackwell spent the summer taking part in many tournaments. “I worked on my mental game, staying focused, improved my game in all aspects,’’ she said.

One of the biggest areas she felt she improved in was scrambling when she fails to make greens in regulation – being able to focus when she has a bad hole so she can get out with at worst a bogey.

“My goal this year is to get my average down to 75, win the regionals and finish top five at state,’’ she said. “I want to defend our conference championship, defend our regional championship and get five girls to states again.’’

Edge expects Blackwell to get support from teammates Mary Catherine Hales, Gabby Bynum, Madison Burrell and Jaclyn Daniels.

“Mary Catherine has been hitting it well so far in practice,’’ Edge said. “Gabby was our No. 5 last year and is moving up to No. 3. Our No. 4 and No. 5, Madison and Jaclyn, have played in matches over the previous couple of years.

“They are getting better, and hopefully they can help us down the road.’’

Photos L to R: Todd Edge, Toni Blackwell

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