Golf: Wildcats sneak into state berth

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After ending the first day of the Class 4A Region I tournament in second place behind eventual champion Trophy Club Nelson, it seemed Guyer might have been a shoo-in to qualify for its first state tournament, as the top three teams were set to advance to the April 29-30 state tournament at Onion Creek Club in Austin.

Instead, the Wildcats had a fight on their hands during Day 2 and needed a clutch putt from their lone senior on the final hole to finish third, but Kyle Hodges was up to the challenge and the Wildcats finished one shot ahead of Amarillo for third place.

The Argyle boys won the Class 3A Region II tournament in Pottsboro after entering the second day in second place to claim the school’s first regional crown and its second consecutive state berth.

Hodges sank a 20-foot par putt on Guyer’s final shot of the tournament. Hodges finished with a 79 Tuesday, while the three other scorers, Brady Hanley, Jeremiah Earle and Connor Ross, each shot 80. Garrett Underwood’s 85 was thrown out, as only four scores count.

“It’s the best 79 Kyle ever shot,” said Roddy Adams, who has been the head coach at Guyer since the school opened in 2005 and was at Denton prior to that. “He knew what he had to do. I told him he had to par the last two holes and we win by one. I know that’s a lot of pressure to put on a teenager, but I thought he deserved to know. I know him — he would have wanted to know.”

On the par-4 18th hole, Hodges’ drive went down the middle of the fairway and he hit a 7-iron over the green on his second shot. Next came a pitch that nearly hit the flagstick but went 20 feet past the hole, putting Hodges and Guyer in a precarious position. Then, he did what his coach had asked him to when he drained the par putt from 20 feet.

“When you do the first thing of anything, that’s a pretty good deal,” said Adams, who in his 19th year is making his first trip to the state tournament as a coach. “He’ll be remembered for a long time.

“As an old man that’s 52 years old, I am ecstatic. I’m tickled to death. I love these kids. I told Kyle he’s a nephew for life.”

Guyer finished with a two-day total of 623 behind Nelson (600) and Granbury (611).

In Pottsboro, the Argyle boys rallied from a first-round deficit to shoot a two-day 614 and top Decatur (630) and Longview Spring Hill (639), who also will advance to the 3A state tournament May 2 and 3 at Austin’s Jimmy Clay Golf Course.

Argyle will be making its second consecutive state appearance after placing fourth in the 2012 tournament, which was the program’s first appearance.

Argyle was led by Blake Lyle, who shot rounds of 76 and 77 to tie teammate Nick Louy, who shot 79-74. Lance Roden (79-75) finished one shot back of Lyle and Louy, while Colton Katzen (81-76) was one shot better than Argyle’s top B-team scorer, Jack Graham. Hunter Thompson rebounded from a first-round 87 to shoot a 74.

The B-team Eagles finished seventh, showing the depth the program has built. Coach Brady Bell said he has about 10 quality golfers this season.

With the exception of one of Argyle’s A-team members, everyone shot better than they did Monday, partly due to better conditions.

“It was consistently windy [Monday] and not really windy [Tuesday],” Bell said. “But overall we just played better. The guys knew that it was a goal of ours to win regionals. They knew we were in second and had to step up, and we definitely did that.”

Bell said he was especially pleased with how his team finished its day, shooting a second-round total of 299 when he had told them in the morning that a 305 would be a good score he thought would win the tournament.

“I was proud of the ‘A’ team, just watching them come in on the last hole,” Bell said. “We finished well and that was big for us, especially going into state. A couple of guys had some breakthrough rounds. That’s probably Hunter’s lowest round of the season, and Lance came through with a 75 and had a 10-foot birdie putt on 18 to get that.”

The Argyle girls finished 11th with a two-day 874 but improved by 20 shots from the first to second round. Melissa won the team title, followed by fellow state qualifiers Atlanta and Bridgeport. The Lady Eagles were led by Marisa Roden (114-96) and Leyton King (106-105). Krum’s Rachel Wallace finished in a tie for 17th with a two-day total of 200.

In the Class 2A Region II tournament at Stephenville’s Legends Country Club, the Ponder girls shot a 419 Tuesday to finish with a two-day total of 431, good for a fifth-place finish. The Lady Lions were led by Elizabeth Chilson (92-93), who finished fourth individually and narrowly missed a state berth.

ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872 and via Twitter at @aboedeker.

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