Staff Photo: John Bohn Greater Atlanta Christian's Bailey Tardy is the Daily Post's girls golfer of the year after a runner-up finish in the Class AA state golf championships.
She didn't get the ending she wanted, but Bailey Tardy's focus stayed on bigger goals.
The sophomore golfer at GAC knew when she teed off in the Class AA state championship match in Vidalia it was her last time doing so for the Spartans and, perhaps, in high school.
She finished a solid runner up with a 75, but a bit short of her expectations following a state championship as a freshman. Tardy's score led the Spartans to a team runner-up to host Vidalia as well.
"I kind of wanted to make the best of it at GAC (in my last round)," Tardy said. "I wish we would have won and I wish I had played better, but Vidalia had the advantage there, playing on their home course."
So the end was slightly more tart than expected, even with the home course disadvantage. But the future for Tardy still seems sweet.
The Daily Post player of the year plans to transfer to Norcross for her final two high school years to allow her to dual-enroll in both college and high school classes. The idea is to get her enough credit to take to Georgia with her as a freshman she won't miss any golf matches for class.
She committed to Georgia after her freshman season.
"That's the main reason I am switching," she said.
Norcross is also closer to both her home in Peachtree Corners and her home course at the Atlanta Athletic Club. She said she plans to apply for a hardship to play golf for Norcross, but is keeping her expectations low.
"My hopes aren't very high to play high school golf," she said. "I'd love to play."
But Tardy's strongest focus is on improving for college. A life-long Georgia fan, she always wanted to attend the university and when head coach Josh Brewer, along with Mill Creek graduate and four-time All-American at Georgia, Emilie Burger, started recruiting her, she needed little convincing.
"I literally grew up there," said Tardy, who often visited her grandmother in Athens growing up. "It's not a huge town; football games, you get the chills when kickoff happens. I fell in love with it early.
"I've always dreamed of going to Georgia."
That dream first started as a soccer player, but when Tardy starting playing golf at age 11, the sport changed, not the school.
After committing, Tardy started watching college matches. She went to the Liz Murphy Collegiate Classic in Athens and followed Burger for two rounds during the NCAA Championships hosted by Georgia.
"It's so competitive," Tardy said of college golf. "In college, I want to be an All-American all four years. I have goals already set for college.
I want to win a national championship, obviously. I kind of want to follow in Emilie's footsteps. She was a team leader and a good person to look up to."
She learned, specifically, to work on her short game and her putting. She learned to be prepared and that's what her switching schools is designed to do.
"I am just excited to get there," she said.