One Down, Two To Go: SS girls take comfortable lead, boys in middle of pack after first round
By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY | News-Telegram Sports Editor
Mar. 27, 2007 - PARIS - The Sulphur Springs girls almost assured themselves of a trip to the regional tournament after just the first of three rounds of District 11-4A golf on Monday.
The SSHS boys, meanwhile, are glad there are still two more rounds to go.
With senior Whitney McDaniel and sophomore Britney Cheatham tying for the first-round lead and senior Kylie Littlefield one spot behind, the Lady Cats took a 48-stroke lead over second place and a 111-stroke lead over third after the first round played at Paris Golf and Country Club.
Meanwhile, the SSHS boys ended the initial round in sixth place out of 12 teams, and will need to make up 22 strokes over the next two rounds to move into regional-qualifying second place.
Senior Dustin Gideon, though, positioned himself into possibly his fourth straight regional trip by shooting a 2-over par 72, good enough for a tie for second place.
The top two teams and top two individuals who are not on those teams advance to the regional tournament.
The tournament's second round is set for Thursday, April 5, at Mount Pleasant Country Club. The final round is April 9 at Oak Grove Golf Club near Texarkana.
McDaniel and Cheatham each carded an 84 and Littlefield came through with an 88 to lead the Lady Cats. All five SSHS golfers were in the top 10 individually as sophomore Kaitlyn Potts shot a 105 (eighth place) and freshman Miranda Conway finished with a 107 (10th place).
It was everyone's best round of the year, except McDaniel whose 74 last week is considered one of the best scores ever shot by an SSHS female golfer. She is the defending district medalist.
The Lady Cats finished the round with a 361, easily out-distancing Lindale's second-place score of 409 and Mount Pleasant's third-place score of 473.
Sulphur Springs struggled on this course last year, the main reason the Lady Cats ended up as district runners-up.
"This golf course has given us trouble in the past," acknowledged SSHS head coach Rahn Smith. "Going into it, we were just trying to improve over last year's scores, and they went above and beyond that.
"All the girls except for one shot their best scores of the year, and she came in with a really good score herself. You can't ask for more than that on the first round of district."
He said Cheatham and Littlefield were solid all day around the greens, and McDaniel overcame a plodding pace from her group.
"They were just making really good contact all day," Smith said. "They were real solid with their putting and around the greens. We put ourselves in great position."
The SSHS "B" team finished in seventh place with a 503. Christa Wilks led the group with a 117, while Rachel Johnson and Jandi Lawrence each finished with a 128, Thai exchange student Meentra Mirokotwichikarn came in with a 132 and Kaylie Coke had a 143. Whitney Morgan, playing as a medalist, shot a 116, and German exchange student Steffie Wegenast finished with a 133.
The SSHS boys' inexperience may have shown through somewhat on Monday. But, the Wildcats can look to last year's team for inspiration.
Sulphur Springs was in sixth place last year after the first round, then rebounded to come in second overall and earn a regional berth.
Like last year, the team will depend on Gideon if they are to make a move.
On Monday, he battled two-time district medalist Zack Fischer of Texas High down to the last hole. Fischer ended with a 2-under 68.
SSHS freshman Adam Perry carded an 84, senior Robby Moore finished with an 89, while freshman Cort Walker and Hesston Taylor both shot 94s. This is the first year for any of them to play in the varsity district tournament.
All five SSHS golfers shot a higher score on the back nine holes. SSHS head coach Doug Evans said the final four holes were especially rough for the Wildcats.
Sulphur Springs finished with a score of 339. Texas High, the heavy favorite, shot 285 to take a 19-stroke lead over North Lamar in second place (307).
"There was a little disappointment on the bus ride home because as we had improved each tournament this year we expected to break 330," said Evans. "If we had finished the last four holes at even par we would have been able to take 15 strokes off of our score."
"There were some encouraging things though, because we had really worked hard on our putting and we saw some improvement in that area.'
Gideon, he said, had "an outstanding day. He was 1-under par on the front nine and was even par on the back nine until he bogeyed the par-3 No. 16 hole.
He made a great up-and-down on No. 17 to save par and pull to within one stroke of Fischer. But, on 18, Fischer made a birdie, while Gideon was not so fortunate.
"Dustin's ball found the green side bunker and some one's un-raked footprint. This caused the ball to set down really deep in the sand and he wasn't able to get it out on his first try and he ended up with a double bogey," Evans said of his final score of 72.
He added that Perry's round was "steady" for a freshman playing in his first district tournament.
Moore almost eagled No. 13, but his shot holed out and he settled for a birdie, then ran into trouble on 14.
"We've got a big mountain to climb because of the strokes and the number of teams between us and second-place," Evans said. "The good thing is that the way Dustin plays, he can keep us within striking distance."
Paris Golf Club
Team - 1. Texas High "A" 285; 2. North Lamar "A" 307; 3. Lindale "A" 315; 4. North Lamar "B" 328; 5. Paris "A" 331; 6. Sulphur Springs "A" 339; 7. Mount Pleasant "A" 341; 8. Texas High "B" 347; 9. Paris "B" 347; 10. Lindale "B" 382; 11. Sulphur Springs "B" 400; 12 Mount Pleasant "B" 402.
Individual Top 10 - 1. Zack Fischer, 68, Texas High "A"; 2. Dustin Gideon, 72, Sulphur Springs "A"; 3. Conner Ribble, 72, Texas High "A"; 4. Chris Treadway, 72, Texas High "A: 5. S. Smallwood, 72, Paris "A"; 6. Cabe Prieskorn, 73, Texas High "A", 7. J. Johnson, 73, Lindale "B"; 8. J. Cox, 74, North Lamar "A"; 9. Jesse Durham, 76, North Lamar "A"; 10. Stetson McMillan, 76, Lindale "A"
Sulphur Springs "A" - Dustin Gideon 33-39-72; Adam Perry 40-44-84; Robby Moore 41-48-89; Cort Walker 46-48-94; Hesston Taylor 46-48-94.
Sulphur Springs "B" - Josh Willis 95; Price Orwosky 99; Cole Cable 99; Lance Knotts 107; John Holland 109; Medalists: Josh Gaines 116; Cody Morgan 121.
Team - 1. Sulphur Springs "A" 361; 2. Lindale 409; 3. Mount Pleasant 473; 4. North Lamar; 5. Paris; 6. Texas High 491; 7. Sulphur Springs "B" 503.
Sulphur Springs "A" - Whitney McDaniel 84; Britney Cheatham 84; Kylie Littlefield 88; Kaitlyn Potts 105; Miranda Conway 107.
Sulphur Springs "B" - Rachel Johnson 128; Meentra Mirokotwichikarn 132; Christa Wilks 117; Jandi Lawrence 128; Kaylie Coke 143; Medalists: Whitney Morgan 116; Steffie Wegenast 133.