A serious car accident in 2011 threatened Janista Numpho-Franks' competitive career.
Numpho-Franks said she had a broken wrist, a stress fracture in her neck and a serious concussion in the accident.
But more than one year later, it was this Hempfield senior who was standing alone at the top of the WPIAL Class AAA leader board.
Numpho-Franks shot even par on the front nine on her way to a 4-over 76 Monday at 3 Lakes Golf Course in Penn Hills, two shots better than Canon-McMillan sophomore Lauren Waller.
"It's been all I've ever dreamed of," Numpho-Franks said of winning the WPIAL title. "And it's my last year so I wanted to do something good."
Numpho-Franks, who took fifth place in the WPIAL a year ago, said when she returned from her injuries, she had to work through the pain in her wrist. But the injury didn't change her swing at all.
That swing, especially on her approach shot, was in rhythm Monday. It had to be, because of the difficult pin placements on the course.
"It was really nice, but the pins were tough," Numpho-Franks said. "Putting was tough and the ground was a little wet, but other than that it was good."
The ground was wet because of the morning fog that pushed back the start time of the round by 90 minutes.
The delay didn't bother Numpho-Franks, who had just one bogey on the front nine and nullified that with a birdie at the par-3 eighth. She had a four-shot lead at the turn and held off a furious comeback from Waller down the stretch. Waller shot a 44 on the front nine, but was 2 under on the back.
Numpho-Franks and Waller qualified for the PIAA Western regional Oct. 15 at Tom's Run Golf Course at Chesnut Ridge Golf Resort in Blairsville. Joining them are North Allegheny's Lizzie Hammell (80), Shady Side Academy's Shannon Gramley (83), Gateway's Johnna Beehner (84), Penn-Trafford's Haley Borkovich (84) and North Allegheny's Megan Leto (86), who had to win a four-way playoff for the final spot.
In the Class AA championship, Jefferson-Morgan sophomore Gillian Alexander shot 6-over 78 to beat Central Valley's Macky Fouse by two shots.
"It was a great feeling," Alexander said. "I wasn't expecting it because we had tough conditions and it's a tough course. But I was really steady."
Alexander did not have one birdie on the day, but she didn't have anything worse than a bogey, either. She never three-putted.
"My putting was very good," Alexander said. "I didn't get into trouble much and that kept me in it with my putting."
Fouse had a chance down the stretch. She played in the final group while Alexander played in the second-to-last group and she had a par on each of the final three holes. Fouse was down one shot at the time and had a birdie putt on each of the final three holes within 20 feet. But she was unable to capitalize and ended up three-putting for bogey on the final hole.
"I left a couple shots out there, a couple shorter putts, but I think I played solidly for the most part," Fouse said. "I could have played better, but that's how golf is."hsother
First Published October 2, 2012 4:00 AM