High school girls golf state tournament notebook: Oklahoma Christian School claims Class 2A state title
Golf carts swarmed the first hole. Spectators whispered. Oklahoma Christian School golfer Makenzi Duncan lined up her putt from 30 feet away.
As it rattled into the hole, OCS fans threw up their hands and cheered. Right then, Brooklyn Benn knew her team was going to win.
A playoff determined the Class 2A girls state champion Thursday, after Benn’s 2-over-par 71 Thursday tied Oklahoma Christian School and Regent Prep at 750. OCS won its first tournament of the season, after losing in a playoff the week before to place second in regionals.
“I don’t know what the odds are of that,” OCS coach Steve Ray said of tying for first in back-to-back tournaments.
Benn was one of the last players off the course, and the news spread around Aqua Canyon that her last hole could determine the team standings.
“When I hit the wedge shot close, everyone went crazy, so I figured that I needed to make that putt to either get us in the playoff, or to win, or something. … It was the most nerve-racking moment ever, but it was so fun.”
She made the putt. As OCS headed back out to warm up for the playoff, Ray sensed a calm among his golfers that hadn't been there the week before. This was nothing new for them.
Regent Prep freshman Jenni Roller shot a 69 Thursday, a 2019 Class 2A State Tournament-best. She claimed the individual title, shooting even par-142 on the week.
“I’m so proud of our team and what we’ve done,” Roller said of Regent Prep's inaugural season.
Plainview win third consecutive state crown
With their team state championship already secured, four Plainview teammates walked from the clubhouse to the 18th green to see another teammate, Reagan Chaney, claim the individual title.
Many of their parents wore “three-peat” T-shirts, and that’s exactly what Plainview accomplished on Thursday at Westwood Park in Norman. Back-to-back 4A girls golf state champions in 2017 and 2018, and 3A champions in 2019.
Chaney won the tournament with rounds of 66 and 70. Three of her teammates placed in the top-10 as Plainview bested second-place Purcell by 93 strokes. Dickson finished third.
“Nobody can hang with them around here,” Dickson coach Justin Shaw said. “My girls, when they figured out Plainview dropped to 3A, we were all disappointed. We were thinking, ‘Hey, we have a chance to win state.’ And now we’re playing for second.”
The five Plainview golfers posted an average score of 74 over their 10 rounds.
“We’re all best friends outside of golf, but once we’re on the course we want to beat each other,” sophomore Lindyn Ross said. “If we play bad, then we want the other girls to beat us.”
Barker rallies, leads Durant to title
As Durant senior Blayne Barker prepared to hit out of a fairway bunker on the 18th hole at Lincoln Park’s West course on Thursday, her coach pulled her back.
Tanner Dupree wanted his best player to look at the crowd awaiting her at the green, and appreciate the moment in her final Class 5A state golf tournament.
“No matter what you make on this hole,” Dupree told Barker, “we win and you win.”
It was only a slight exaggeration. Barker made par for a two-round total of 146 to win by four shots over first-day leader Jaelynn Unger of Noble. And Durant stretched a four-shot lead into a 14-shot win over Duncan in the team race.
“I was really surprised I would be leading by that much,” Barker said.
Barker and Abbey Hunt — two of Durant’s three seniors, along with Madison Feltman — were starters on the 2016 team that won a state title.
Hunt, after a first-day 91, was crucial in Durant being able to pull away for the team title, shooting 78 on Thursday.
“I was disappointed, and I knew I was better than that,” Hunt said. “I had to come out here and do what I knew I was capable of.”
Ponca City’s Hermann rallies early to win championship
For the better part of 90 minutes, Ponca City senior Sydney Hermann struggled to stay patient.
She walked outside of the clubhouse. She sat at a table inside. She even took a golf cart on the course to watch others.
The wait was agonizing.
“Everyone was stressing,” Hermann said.
Hermann shot a 1-under 71 in the Class 6A tournament to rally for a four-stroke victory over Bartlesville’s Emma Shelley to win the individual title at Earlywine Golf Club.
But it took the better part of the afternoon for Hermann to confirm the victory. She finished quickly.
Shelley, who equaled the 71 Wednesday, was in the final group to finish. Shelley shot a 5-over 77 to fall behind.
Hermann, who is going to Dalton State College in Georgia, finally celebrated when the final score was posted.
“This is what I always dreamt of starting junior high school,” Hermann said. “I can’t believe that it’s senior year and this is what happened.”
Hilldale’s Kenzie Kirkhart leads Hornets to Class 4A state title
Hilldale coach Oren Sikes is glad he wasn’t drenched in energy drinks and water.
Instead, the Hilldale girls golf team engulfed him with silly string as he was taking pictures with the state championship trophy. Hilldale tallied a two-day total of 616 to capture the Class 4A state title at Lake Hefner South Golf Course, besting second-place Wagoner by 107 strokes. Muldrow finished third with a 723 total. Kingfisher finished fourth.
“We’re pretty strong, wouldn’t you say?” Sikes said about his team’s dominant victory. “There’s not a lot to say. That’s just a domination.”
Kenzie Kirkhart’s stellar putting earned her the individual title. The Hilldale senior fired an even-par 70 on Thursday to best Kingfisher’s Maddi Kamas, who made a bogey on the final hole to finish one shot back.
Kirkhart was three back of Kamas entering the final round, but she said her steady putter helped her conquer a breezy day. Kirkhart’s older sister, Katie, won an individual state title in 2015.
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 ›