|Gideon tied for 11-4A lead, but Wildcats 15 strokes out of regional berth|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
April 6, 2004 -- BONHAM -- Seth Northcutt finished his first nine holes at Legacy Ridge Golf Course on Monday, reached into a cooler to get a bottle of water and remarked, "I don't think I could play much worse than that."
After shooting a 45 on the front nine, Northcutt turned it around with an even-par 36 on the back, and now the Sulphur Springs Wildcats will need to do the same on Tuesday.
Despite a tournament-leading 77 by freshman Dustin Gideon and an 81 from Northcutt on the first day of the District 11-4A tournament, the Wildcats found themselves 15 strokes out of second place -- and a regional berth -- heading into the second and final round of play on Tuesday.
Sulphur Springs shot a 339 as a team and trail McKinney North No. 1, which leads with a 314, and McKinney North No. 2 at 324. Last year, the Wildcats finished third behind the two Bulldog teams.
Sherman is fourth at 344, five strokes behind Sulphur Springs, while the rest of the tournament includes Denison at 361, Paris at 366, Greenville at 380 and SSHS No. 2 at 417.
SSHS coach Doug Evans said his team, which is young and inexperienced, may have put too much pressure on themselves after playing so well last week on the same course.
"If we'd played the way we're capable, we'd be in the hunt," Evans said. "They haven't been under this kind of pressure much, and you need to be put in the fire a few times to get used to it.
"Obviously, we've got to shoot the best we can and play up to our capabilities and see if we can move up. That's got to be our mindset."
As it stands now, Gideon is in prime position to advance to regional as a medalist. Individuals must finish in the top six in the tournament and be one of the two low medalists on their team.
Gideon is tied for the lead with three McKinney North golfers, while Northcutt sits tied for eighth.
Gideon played the course well except for a couple of par threes. He triple-bogeyed two of the shorter holes, hitting bunkers, while he played the rest of the course at one-under.
"Dustin hit the ball well, especially in the wind," Evans said. "He got in trouble of couple of times, but he kept his composure and made some good shots."
Northcutt, meanwhile, overcame an unkind first round to complete a solid turnaround. He was one-under on the back nine until he had to take a penalty stroke on 18 that kept him at even-par on the back nine.
"That was a great comeback," Evans said. "The way Seth played on the first nine, he could have given up, but he didn't. He battled back and played great on the back nine."
Penalty strokes in general hurt the team, as senior Caleb Beck had trouble on a couple of holes, and turned in a score of 94. Sophomore Chase Helm shot an 87 and senior Hutton Harris carded a 96.
"I felt really bad for Caleb because he had been shooting really well this year," Evans said. "He's got a chance on Tuesday to get back in it. That's the way golf is. Some days, you shoot well and some days you don't.
"Our seniors don't have a lot of experience in these types of pressure tournaments, and I think a lot of the pressure was self-induced."
The Sulphur Springs No. 2 team included Sam Dolan with a 94, Brent Askins with a 101, Colin Alexander 107, Chris Clark 123 and Chandler Harris with a 123. Medalists were Lane McClung at 128, Russell Ross at 129 and Matt Y'Barbo at 134.
Leading the tournament along with Gideon at 77 were Andrew Doughitt of MNHS No. 1, and two MNHS No. 2 golfers, Kevin Palmer and Chad Mayfield. They were followed by a trio of McKinney North No. 1 golfers, Brooks Bankhead at 78, B.J. Luby at 79, Blake Luby at 80, and then came Northcutt, Sherman's Stewart Murray and McKinney North's Ross Jackson, all at 81.
"Individually, Dustin's in good shape, and Seth need to make up a couple of strokes, which he can do with the way he played the back nine," Evans said. "I would never want a team to not give themselves a chance because anything can happen."
at Legacy Ridge
TEAM -- 1. McKinney North No. 1, 314; 2. McKinney North No. 2, 324; 3. Sulphur Springs No. 1, 339; 4. Sherman, 344; 5. Denison, 361; 6. Paris, 366; 7. Greenville, 380; 8. Sulphur Springs No. 2, 417.
TOP 10 -- 1. Dustin Gideon, Sulphur Springs, 77; 1. Andrew Doughitt, McKinney North No. 1, 77; 1. Kevin Palmer, McKinney North No. 2, 77; 1. Chad Mayfield, McKinney North No. 2, 77; 5. Brooks Bankhead, McKinney North No. 1, 78; 6. B.J. Luby, McKinney North No. 1, 79; 7. Blake Luby, McKinney North No. 1, 80; 8. Seth Northcutt, Sulphur Springs, 81; 8. Stewart Murray, Sherman, 81; 8. Ross Jackson, McKinney North No. 1, 81.
Sulphur Springs No. 1 -- Dustin Gideon 77, Seth Northcutt 81, Chase Helm 87, Caleb Beck 94, Hutton Harris 96.
Sulphur Springs No. 2 -- Sam Dolan 94, Brent Askins 101, Colin Alexander 107, Chris Clark 115, Chandler Harris 123.