Guyer golf coach Roddy Adams compared the mentally agonizing sport he coaches to pulling the big, enticing lever on a slot machine.
In his analogy, the golfer and the gambler are the same. Most of those on the course hope everything lines up, scores are lowered and new heights are achieved.
Today and Tuesday, Adams and the Guyer boys team will pull that lever once again at the Class 4A Region I tournament at Diamondback Golf Club in Abilene.
The Wildcats have never sent a team or a player to the state tournament. Neither has Adams. With a top-three finish at the regional tournament, that would change.
“Golf is probably, more than any other sport, one of the ‘could have, would have, should have’ sports,” Adams said. “I think that’s what keeps us coming back for more. We think every time that we go out there we’re looking for that.
“Whether it’s a really good player looking for [a score] of 66 or an average weekend player looking for an 88 because they’ve never broken 90, that’s what keeps them coming back.”
This year, three teams will advance to the state tournament from the regional tournament instead of two teams.
Guyer qualified for the regional with a second-place finish at the District 5-4A tournament last week. The Wildcats finished 38 strokes behind Trophy Club Nelson.
Senior Kyle Hodges, a Sam Houston State signee, leads Guyer’s five-member team with junior Garrett Underwood, sophomore Jeremiah Earle, sophomore Brady Hanley and freshman Connor Ross.
The four lowest individual scores are combined for a team score. The top three individuals will earn a berth at state, regardless if their team qualifies.
But the state tournament is foreign territory for the Wildcats and Adams. The Guyer girls team has reached the regional tournament three times in the school’s eight-year history, but this is only the second time the boys have made it.
Adams has come close to sending individuals to state. In 2004, Denton’s Harris Graham drove a shot into a bunker on the 15th hole on the second day of the regional tournament. Instead of taking a drop and a penalty stroke, he played through it. He missed a state berth by a few strokes.
In 2011, Guyer’s Mason Horner took a 3-wood and drove a shot on the last hole of the regional into the water. Horner is a sophomore playing for Southeastern Oklahoma State.
In 2009 the girls team, led by Kelly Watson, also barely missed making the state tournament, Adams said.
Adams said a state tournament appearance could impress families moving to Texas who want to move into a school zone with a strong program.
“If you have things like that on your website, it’s kind of like an advertisement for your school. So that would be a really big deal for the future,” Adams said.
The drought may be broken because of Hodges and the emergence of Underwood. In eighth grade, Hodges decided to play golf instead of football, and he has matured tremendously, Adams said.
In addition to his strong 6-1 frame, what makes Hodges a good player is his ability to keep calm.
“Sometimes when things haven’t gone his way, he’s maintained his composure, and that makes him very coachable,” Adams said. “When I tell him something, he listens and he tries to implement it. I’m really blessed to have Kyle Hodges on the team.”
Guyer and Adams may finally be able to accomplish what’s eluded them for so long.
“It’s not the icing on the cake, because I think obviously if you win state it’s probably the icing on the cake, whether it’s with a team or an individual,” Adams said.
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @Ben_Baby.