As the lone senior on Guyer’s top boys golf team, Kyle Hodges has developed quite the reputation among his head coach and teammates.
That was further solidified at the Class 4A Region I tournament in Abilene nearly two weeks ago when Hodges lined up a putt that would go down in Guyer golf history.
The scene was the 18th green at Diamondback Golf Club, and the crowd included several spectators and all of Hodges’ opponents and teammates gathered around the green.
The putt: a 20-footer with about a foot of right-to-left break.
The result? That was no surprise to those who know Hodges best, as the senior sank the putt to give Guyer a third-place finish by one stroke and its first berth in the UIL state tournament.
“Watching him putt it, he loves to be under pressure. He’s the best player under pressure, and once he putted it, the thing broke a foot and was right on track,” Guyer junior Garrett Underwood said. “It was unbelievable. It was like watching the Masters. They said I screamed like a girl, but it was just a big yell. It was amazing.”
Now the Wildcats will be gunning to make more history as they play in the state tournament at Austin’s Onion Creek Club Golf Course on Monday and Tuesday, and Hodges will look to end his high school career on a high note before heading off to play at Sam Houston State.
He’s also going to try to make more history for his coach, Roddy Adams, who has been a part of the Denton school district for nearly two decades — as a head coach at Denton before going to Guyer when the school opened in 2005. He had never made it to the state tournament as a coach until Hodges’ clutch putt.
“At regionals, some of the guys were saying that would be my last round as a high school golfer,” Hodges said. “I knew I had one more in me, though. Knowing this is it is going to be cool and really emotional. Coach Adams means a lot to me, and I know going in it’s my last round. We’re going to have fun with it.”
The Wildcats finished third at the regional tournament behind Trophy Club Nelson and Granbury, edging out Amarillo, which played in the state tournament last year.
Adams has been a head coach for 14 years and before that was an assistant, and he said the first state tournament in program history will be a valuable experience for everyone involved.
“I think it’ll be a great experience for me,” Adams said. “I’ve been to the state tournament as a spectator and I’ve run tons of regional tournaments, but it’ll be good for me to learn some more of the ins and outs of it. On the kids’ side, it’ll be a good experience for them going forward because I think we have a good chance of going back next year. The experience will benefit them a lot next year.”
All of Guyer’s players — Hodges being the lone exception — will return next year, when Underwood is slated to be the team’s lone senior, joined by current sophomores Jeremiah Earle and Brady Hanley and freshman Connor Ross.
Hodges is the team’s unquestioned leader, not only because he’s a four-year varsity player and the lone senior but also with his team-leading scoring average of 76.8. Underwood follows with a 78.6 while Earle and Hanley shoot in the low 80s and Ross averages 85.
The well-rounded scoring has helped lead Guyer to the success it’s seen this year, with four consistent scorers in the high 70s and low 80s and the worst score being thrown out after each round.
“They’re all interchangeable, except for Kyle’s spot and probably our freshman,” Adams said. “The other three I could play at No. 2, 3 or 4. It’s good to have that — guys that are not too spread out. If they’re spread out very much in golf, you don’t have very good scores. You don’t want a 90, an 85 and 80 and a 75. You’d rather have four 79s.”
With four of his players set to return next year, Adams said he hopes this season is a harbinger of what he would like to become routine.
“I hope it’s something we can build on for not just next year, but for the years to come,” Adams said. “Maybe it raises the bar for me a little bit too. I don’t want it to be a one-shot wonder.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872 and via Twitter at @aboedeker.