|Wildcats golf jumps from sixth to second after Round 2 of district tournament|
|From Staff Reports|
April 7, 2006 - WOLFE CITY - The Sulphur Springs Wildcats not only played 18 holes of golf on Thursday, they played a little leap frog as well.
The Wildcats jumped from sixth place to second during the second round of the District 12-4A golf tournament at Webb Hill Country Club.
Sulphur Springs had trailed second-place North Lamar by 15 strokes after the first round, played last Monday at Paris Golf and Country Club, but got sub-80 scores from Dustin Gideon and Seth Northcutt to outshoot the Panthers by 19 strokes and take over second place.
The district's third and final round is scheduled to tee off at 9 a.m. Monday at Oak Grove Golf Course in New Boston. The top two teams and six individuals qualify for regional.
Gideon shot a 1-over par 73, Northcutt turned in a 78, while Sam Dolan carded an 80, and Joe Ross and Chase Helm both came in at 82. That totaled a 313 mark, the second-best round of the 10 teams in the tourney, leaving the Wildcats with a two-day total of 647.
Every SSHS golfer bettered his first day score as the Wildcats cut 21 strokes from last week.
Texas High shot a 295 to go with its first-round score of 302 to total 597 and hold a commanding 50-stroke lead. North Lamar is in third, four strokes back of Sulphur Springs at 651.
SSHS head coach Doug Evans said the Wildcats played extremely well in the very windy conditions.
"I feel like we're in pretty good shape. We went from being 15 down behind second-place North Lamar to being four up on them," he said. "North Lamar shot 332 yesterday. I really expected something in the 320-325 range out of them, so I thought if we shot somewhere around 315, we'd pick up half of it.
"Instead, yesterday the guys played an outstanding round and North Lamar didn't quite handle the pressure of the conditions quite as well. As a result, we're in good shape."
Gideon moved into fifth place individually as he shaved eight strokes off his first-day round and now stands at 154. Northcutt is in 10th place with an 84-78-162 total. Northcutt was 2-over par until he bogeyed the final four holes.
Evans said that was a trend for the Wildcats. The top four golfers shot 10-over on Web Hill's last four holes.
"If we could learn how to finish, we'd be pretty good," Evans said after the squad had similar troubles at the end of the first round. "I've been telling them all year that around 300 is a realistic goal for them. Next week, we've set a goal to shoot under 310. I think you always need to set goals for yourself and try to attain those to give you something to stay focused on.
"Staying focused on trying to get to region is one thing, but sometimes focusing on that too much kind of puts a little extra pressure on you."
Dolan has a two-day total of 165 and Ross has a 166, putting both of them in the top 15 in the district. Ross hit the ball well, but had trouble putting on Thursday or he could have dipped under 80 as well.
Helm has a two-day total of 170, putting him the top 20.
"I was really pleased with the scores, especially since we played in 20- to 30-mile per hour winds all day long," Evans said. "I really didn't know what to expect. I thought they scores overall might have been a little bit higher, and I think they were except for us and Texas High."
Texas High's Zack Fisher matched his 70 on the first round with another 2-under par score on Thursday to give him a district-low 140 total. His teammate, Cabe Prieskorn is second individually at 147, followed by Mount Pleasant's Tyler Verner at 148, and Greenville's Chris Haayen one stroke back in fourth.
With the top two teams advancing to regional, the Wildcats will need to make their four-stroke lead against North Lamar stand up on Monday. They appear to be the only two teams in the running for the runner-up spot. Mount Pleasant is in fourth at 672, 25 strokes behind Sulphur Springs.
"I think going into yesterday's round they were confident and relaxed," Evans said. "I think the guys were more relaxed, and that's really the way we approached practice the last week. We didn't panic, but we had a little sense of urgency. I think they didn't put a lot of pressure on themselves and played relaxed.
"On Monday, we've just got to take care of business on a course that we've played fairly well, so I feel pretty good about it."
The SSHS No. 2 squad shot the seventh-best score on Thursday, coming in with a 363, putting them in ninth place with a 747 total.
Robby Moore had a solid round, shooting an 80 and has a 171 total. Rob Russell carded an 89 to total 182, while Hesston Taylor and Price Orwosky both shot 98s and stand at 194 and 202, respectively. Lane McClung carved 19 strokes off his first-day total to finish at 96.