|First round of district golf goes to North Lamar girls and Texas High boys|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
March 29, 2005 - PARIS - Round 1 of the District 12-4A golf tournament is over, with the North Lamar girls and the Texas High boys coming out on top.
The first round was played Monday at Paris Golf and Country Club. Rounds two and three are scheduled for the next two Mondays at Mount Pleasant and Sulphur Springs.
In the boys race, Texas High took a strong lead, as expected, with Sulphur Springs slipping into fifth place.
In the girls division, North Lamar used the home course advantage to take a four-stroke lead over Sulphur Springs with no other team within striking range.
Once all three rounds are completed, the cumulative scores will be used to send the top two teams and the top six individuals on to the Class 4A, Region II tournament.
Paris G&CC is a 6,143-yard, 18-hole course with the back nine surrounding the front nine. The men's par is 70 (34-36), while the women's par is 75.
The tournament's complete, official results were not immediately available, and will be in tomorrow's edition.
North Lamar made a charge over the final nine holes to take a four-stroke lead over the Lady Cats after the first round.
Sulphur Springs led by seven strokes at the turn, but North Lamar made up the difference on their home course.
The Lady Cats, who have won three tournaments in a row, were led by sophomore Whitney Gideon, who shot a 91 to finish in second place individually. Brooke Wilson carded a 98, which put her in fifth on the medalist list, while Valerie Walker and Kylie Littlefield both shot a 101, and Faith Harry finished with a 102. Jessica Anderson, playing as a medalist, shot a 122.
That put the Lady Cats with a total of 391, trailing just North Lamar's 387, while Greenville was a distant third at 452.
"Our kids played well. Our scores weren't as low as we would have wanted, but they competed on somebody else's home course," said head coach Rodney Barthelemess. " We're pretty consistent. If we can continue that, and eliminate some of the strokes off our short game, and try to bring those strokes down a little bit, we'll be OK."
One aspect he really liked was how tight the five golfers' scores were.
"We've got five pretty good golfers," he explained. "We're not dependent on one girl coming through for us to win."
Playing the same course as the boys, the girls will travel to MP and SS the next two weeks, also. Barring a total blow-up, the Lady Cats' 65-stroke lead over third-place Greenville should get them to the regional tournament for the second consecutive year.
But, Barthelemess said the girls are working toward a district championship.
"We've got to concentrate on us getting better, playing a little better going into these next two tournaments and cutting our strokes down," Barthelemess said. "The main thing we have to do is play consistent, eliminate the strokes we can in the short game and on the greens.
"We'll have a good week, and our kids will come and compete the next two weeks."
Texas High shot a 302, which led the field by 17 strokes. The surprising team was the North Lamar JV, which put together a round of 319 - good enough for second place.
North Lamar's varsity carded a 322, while Greenville shot a 333 and Sulphur Springs a 337.
The Wildcats had played better last week after muddling through a three-week period, but they couldn't carry that momentum over into the district's first round.
"We didn't do as well as we had hoped - we didn't do as well as we did last Monday," said SSHS head coach Doug Evans. "I don't know if it was the fact of putting a little more importance on it with this being a district round."
SSHS junior Seth Northcutt carded a 78 and sophomore Dustin Gideon came out with a 79 to lead the Wildcats. Chase Helm, meanwhile, shot an 85 despite a stomach virus.
"Chase threw up a couple of holes on his first nine," Evans said. "Actually, we played the back nine first where he shot a 47. Then, he got it together when we came to the front side, and he shot a 38."
Northcutt and Gideon "played really pretty well throughout the day," the coach added. "We still have one or two holes that blow up on us and hurts our scoring, and it's not any one particular thing we're doing. It's a little bit here and a little bit there - missing a putt or duffing a shot somewhere.
"That's what is keeping them from having a really clean round."
Sam Dolan shot a 95, with four holes accounting for 11 of his strokes over par, and Rob Russell came away with a 99.
To earn a regional berth, the Wildcats will have to make up 18 strokes over the second-place team over the next two weeks.
"We're still OK," Evans said. "We don't need to make it all up next Monday, we need to make up part of it. Then, we have the final round here at our place. That should give us some confidence if we can just chisel away at it a little bit next Monday."
Next week's second round will be played at the Mount Pleasant Country Club, where the Wildcats played their best round of the season in the opening tournament. Evans will be looking for some of that same magic before the final round April 11 in Sulphur Springs.
"We've got to find some way between now and Monday to get some of these problems that keep hurting our scoring eliminated," he said. "If we do that, then we have a chance.
"Early in the year, we played a tournament there, and the only team to beat us was Texas High. Everybody else, we beat pretty easily. However, since then those teams have really gotten everything going, and we have not played as well. So, maybe this will be the course and the week that will turn things around for us."