Gracie Piar celebrated the best round in the history of the Illinois high school girls golf tournament in style Friday.
The Alton Marquette senior returned to her hotel room and hit the books.
“I have one homework assignment,” she said. “World Religion.”
Piar likely breezed through her studies the same way she turned heads on the course.
The Cal State-Northridge commit fired a state record 7-under-par 65 to claim the top spot after the opening round of the Class 1A girls golf state tournament at Red Tail Run Golf Course in Decatur.
Piar broke previous record of 66 set by Lake Forest standout Hailey Koschmann in 2007. Piar holds a six-shot lead over Rockford Boylan junior Ella Greenberg, who carded a 71.
The two-day, 36-hole event concludes Saturday.
“I felt good on the range, everything was clicking,” Piar said. “It helps when you make your putts and I did that pretty well (Friday).”
Piar recorded eight birdies, including five on the back nine. She just missed an eagle putt on the final hole. The round marked the best tournament score of her illustrious career.
“Yes, it was a little bit of a surprise,” Piar said. “I mean, I knew I could do it. I’m just so happy I was able to do it at state.”
Piar is well on her way to becoming the second female from the Alton-based school to grab an individual state golf crown. Mary Ellen Jacobs turned the trick in 2002.
Piar’s career-best effort also put the Explorers in position to challenge for the team title.
Marquette posted a four-player score of 309, which was good enough for second place, seven shots behind first-place Mount Carmel.
Senior Audrey Cain fired a 75 to sit in a tie for eighth place. Senior Clancy Maag (83) and junior Ava Bartosiak (86) rounded out the Explorers' strong all-around team effort.
Piar has her eyes set on breaking the two-round state record of 135, also set by Koschmann in 2007.
She plans on continuing to be aggressive, rather than sit back and play a conservative game.
“It’s all about attack,” Piar said. “I’m going to approach it like I do every round.”
Waterloo High junior Calli Smith carded a 4-over 76 to sit in a tie for 12th place. Freshman teammate Reese Kite shot an 83, sits in a tie for 33rd and is qualified for the final round.