High school girls golf state tournament notebook: Noble teammates leading Class 5A
Jaelynn Unger knew the ground was wet and the wind was blowing. She knew it was the state tournament and she should probably be feeling pressure to perform.
She didn’t care. The Noble senior just wanted to have fun in the final tournament of her high school golf career.
And a 1-over-par 72 felt pretty fun Wednesday afternoon.
With her teammate, Kaitlynn Kennedy, a stroke back, Unger heads into her final 18 holes with the lead in the Class 5A state tournament at Lincoln Park’s West course.
“I’m a senior. I was just coming out here to have fun and do my best,” said Unger, who has signed with Rogers State. “Whatever I shot was great. A 72 is very surprising, but I’m happy with it.
“Kaitlynn and I have played together since middle school and always been competitive with each other. I’m really happy for her. She has worked hard for it.”
Durant’s Blayne Barker, who is tied with Tulsa Kelley’s Mike Ramos for third at 75, led her team to the top of the leaderboard on Wednesday.
Sitting at 341, Durant is four shots ahead of Duncan and chasing its first title since 2016 — Barker’s freshman year.
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Trio of rivals in contention for 6A title
Edmond North, Jenks and Edmond Memorial can’t avoid each other.
There is the Edlam rivalry. There is a rivalry between Jenks and North, too.
Now, the trio is in position to make the final round of the Class 6A girls golf state tournament an exciting finish at Earlywine Golf Club.
Edmond North, the defending state champion, leads the team race with a 320, while Jenks and Edmond Memorial are tied with 322.
“We’ve become such rivals with Jenks that it feels about the same,” Edmond North coach Brock VanCleave said. “We’ve become close, but also we love playing with them and at the same time it’s a rivalry. It’ll be fun to be a part of that group.”
North got the highest individual score from Central Oklahoma commitment Emily Miller, who shot a 76 after a double bogey and bogey on her final two holes.
“My last two holes could have been better,” Miller said. “I just lost focus and putting was not helping me.”
This is about how the trio of teams expected things to go. They’ve battled it out all year. Edmond Memorial beat Edmond North in the regional tournament. The three teams tied during a regular season tournament, with Edmond North winning the tiebreaker.
Crowded at the top in 2A
“It could have been better.”
After a smile and “thank you,” those were the first words out of Sarah Sherrard’s mouth when congratulated for the score that would land her in the top four in Class 2A.
The sophomore from Christian Heritage tied with Cordell’s Megan Brown. They trailed leaders Jenni Roller of Regent Prep and Brooklyn Benn of Oklahoma Christian School by just two strokes.
But at the time, Sherrard didn’t know how impressive her day had been.
Sherrard, competing as an individual, was in the first group to tee off in the fog.
The third hole was the one that still nagged at her after walking into the clubhouse at Aqua Canyon Golf Course.
“There was no driving range, and I have to warm up with my wedges a little bit,” Sherrard said. “I bladed it over the green, and I caught it chunky and then chipped it.”
She double-bogeyed, but that was the only time she did so Wednesday. Sherrard finished 4-over par-71. It was a promising start to erasing what she deemed a disappointing eighth place finish last season.
Plainview’s Chaney fires 66
Plainview sophomore Reagan Chaney posted a first-round 66 in Class 3A. It was the low round of the day from any class, and Chaney’s best round of the season.
Plainview coach Taylor Howard said it could’ve been even better.
“She had several other opportunities for birdies today, but it’s so hard to finish a round 5-under par,” Howard said. “It took a lot of maturity for her to do that.”
Chaney started swinging a club not long after she started walking. Her dad, Wesley, is the club pro at Lake Murray Golf Course in Ardmore.
Chaney shot 75-79 to finish fourth at the Class 4A championship last year as a freshman. Plainview, seeking a third consecutive state title, has since moved down a class.
“I think I had more fun with it,” Chaney said after her round. “Last year I was more serious and uptight.”
Plainview leads second-place Dickson by 46 shots going into Thursday. Plainview teammates Chaney, Adeline Norton (70) and Lindyn Ross (74) occupy three of the top-four spots on the leaderboard.
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Hilldale dominates first round of 4A
On a day where Lake Hefner South played longer because of the wet conditions, Hilldale took advantage.
It fired a 312 in the first round of the Class 4A tournament, besting second-place Grove by 45 strokes. Sophomore Jordan Clayborn fired a 4-over 74, which was the second-best score behind a 73 from Kingfisher’s Maddi Kamas.
Hilldale’s Kinzie Kirkhart was two shots behind Clayborn, while Jade Kuykendall and Nyah Sanders each shot 81.
Regent Prep leads in inaugural season
Regent Prep’s Audrey Manly perked up when she heard her teammate Jenni Roller’s name.
“She shot a 73!” she said.
That was the best score in Class 2A, tied with OCS’ Brooklyn Benn. Roller helped propel Regent Prep to the top of the leader board on Day 1, with a team score of 379. It was a team that didn’t exist last season.
Manly competed as an individual last season, so when Roller started at Regent as a freshman this year -- and brought her father, Bill Roller, with her to take on the role as girls golf coach -- Manly and Roller began recruiting their classmates.
What would it mean for Regent Prep to place well in their first season?
“We would be super stoked if that happened,” Jenni Roller said. “But we’re just hoping to have fun. We have a lot of fun together.”
Ponca City’s Hermann using experience for title push
Ponca City senior Sydney Hermann remembers the feeling of being in contention two years ago on her home course.
Now, it’s about replicating that.
Hermann shot a 1-over 73 and is two strokes behind Bartlesville senior Emma Shelley entering the final round of 18. It’s a similar position to where Hermann was two years ago when she finished second overall.
“It helps a lot having all the years at state knowing what the pressure is like,” Hermann said. “I’ll maybe try to do better than what I did in Ponca. Just keep it like today and I’m sure we can make something happen.
Hermann has little margin for error Thursday with Miller and Yukon’s Alyssa Wilson shooting a 76.
Jacob Unruh, Scott Wright, Cameron Jourdan, Joe Mussatto and Maddie Lee, Staff Writers
A lifelong resident of the Oklahoma City metro area, Scott Wright has been on The Oklahoman staff since 2005, covering a little bit of everything on the state's sports scene. He has been a beat writer for football and basketball at Oklahoma and... Read more ›
Jacob Unruh is a graduate of Northeastern State University. He was born in Cherokee and raised near Vera where he attended Caney Valley High School.During his tenure at NSU, Unruh wrote for The Northeastern (NSU's student newspaper), the... Read more ›
Cameron Jourdan joined The Oklahoman in March 2019 to cover high school sports. He graduated from Oklahoma State University in May 2018. He had an internships with The Oklahoman and Stillwater News Press. During his time at OSU, Cameron served in... Read more ›
Joe Mussatto joined The Oklahoman in August 2018 to cover OU football, men’s basketball and softball. He previously covered University of Kentucky football and basketball for SEC Country. Mussatto is from Oklahoma City and lives in Norman. Read more ›
Maddie Lee followed an NBA team from Seattle to Oklahoma City, she just took a 10-year detour in between. Lee joined the Oklahoman in October 2018 as a Thunder beat writer, fresh off a stint in Oxford, Miss., where she covered Ole Miss for the... Read more ›