Trinity King saw the red stake first, and then the water. At that point, she thought she blew it.
Her lead in the final round of the Fort Worth junior golf championship had dwindled to two shots, and a hazard penalty on No. 16 would probably make it disappear.
But as the Arlington teen approached the greenside pond, she found that her approach shot — a flare out of the right rough — somehow hung to the bank, stopping inches from the water. From there, she chipped on and sank a putt for par.
Two pars later, she capped a round of 77 to win the title by three strokes over Maddie White at River Crest Country Club.
King, 13, led wire-to-wire for three rounds, shooting a 72 Monday at Woodhaven Country Club and a 78 Tuesday at Ridglea Country Club.
But entering the ninth hole at River Crest, she trailed Alexandra Batista by a shot and saw her five-shot lead over White reduced to three.
A quadruple bogey set Batista back, while King birdied. White, despite a bogey on No. 9, stayed in contention, gaining a stroke on King on No. 11 and No. 12.
But White’s approach on No. 13 went left, leading to a bogey, while King made par.
Both players parred No. 14, but White cut King’s lead back to two shots on No. 15, where King three-putted for bogey.
Then came No. 16. King’s drive, as it did most of the week, landed around 50 yards past her playing partners, rolling onto the edge of the right rough.
White’s drive went left, but stopped short of a fairway bunker. Her approach sailed long of the green but left her with a manageable up-and-down for par. White didn’t miss the opportunity.
Her chip rolled next to the hole, leaving her a short putt, while King faced a chip from the edge of the water.
“I knew there was water on the left side,” King said, “but I didn’t know it cut that far in. I thought I was just pitching. Then I saw the red stake [lateral water hazard] when I was walking up, and I was very nervous, because I didn’t know how big of a lead I had, or if I even had a lead.”
The chip was perfect, landing soft and curling next to the hole.
“I knew I needed to get up and down to just save myself,” she said.
White dropped to three shots behind with a bogey on No. 17, and King finished with two pars to clinch her first city championship.
She tied for fourth last year, when she shot 87 in the final round at River Crest.
White, 16, from Fort Worth, finished with the low round. But after signing her scorecard, she could only think of the chances she missed on the green.
“It was pretty frustrating,” she said. “I just couldn’t make any putts today. I was trying to make as many birdies as I could.”
Ryan Osborne, 817-390-7760