Boys take 1st, girls take 3rd in district golf

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By Keith Sparks

The Panther boys’ golf team played with a full, healthy team for the first time this season on April 4 and 8, and they dominated.

The Panthers took first in the district tournament as a team, finishing 38 strokes ahead of second-place Salado to qualify for regionals, while Panther golfers Parker McCurdy and John Baker took first and third, overall, as individuals.

The girls took third as team, finishing just one spot shy of qualifying for regionals. Cheryl Gauthier took first, overall, as an individual, so she will be the lone Lady Panther golfer to compete at regionals.

Lampasas took first for the girls and Salado took second as the two teams to qualify for regionals.

After the tournament, all five Panther boys, including McCurdy, Baker, Donny Harper, Charlie Calabretta, and Matt Sterling, were named first team all-district.

For the girls, Gauthier was the lone Panther to make first team all-district.

Head Coach Ryan Revere said he’s had confidence in his golfers all season, but it took all five of the boys playing together for the first time for them to reach their full potential.

“It’s just confidence,” Revere said. “It’s funny, district was the first tournament where we all five played together. We had missed Calabretta and Sterling for some football, and we lost Parker for basketball during their long run, then we got Parker back and Sterling had a wrist injury and Calabretta had a back issue. It seemed like when they all five got together, they knew they were going to do well.”

For the boys, McCurdy finished with a score of 148 to take first, overall, and Baker finished with a score of 159 to take third. Harper finished with a score of 166, Sterling with 170, and Calabretta with 173.

For the girls, Gauthier finished with a score of 160 to take first, overall. Sarah Baker finished with a score of 200, Jena Pina with 228, Emma Hiebner with 258, and Brooke Howard with 261.

Revere said their practice round before district and the fact that the district tournament was played at a neutral site were two big advantages for the Panthers.

“Two things helped us,” Revere said. “We did get to go once for a practice round, so we got to take our time on it, hit balls from different angles on each hole. That allows you to take a better mental note, since you’re not in any rush. It was a neutral site, so nobody had an advantage on the course, whereas last year, we played at Salado and Lampasas, and the year before that, we were at Delaware and Hancock, so we’re playing on other schools’ that we’re competing against home courses.”

The upcoming regional tournament will take place in Corpus Christi on April 22 and 23. The Panthers will leave Easter Sunday morning for one practice round before tournament play begins.

The boys will play at Lozano Golf Center while the girls play at Oso Beach Municipal Golf Course, meaning Revere will have trouble watching both Gauthier and the boys play at separate sites.

“They’re at separate sites playing at the same time, so logistically, it’s going to be difficult for me to watch all the golfers,” Revere said. “The junior high coach, Natalie Johnson, I’m going to reach out to her to see if she’ll go with Cheryl.”

Between now and April 22, regional qualifiers are allowed only one practice round, which they’ll take advantage of on Easter.

“Once district ends, you only have one practice round, and you can’t even go to the driving range or putting green,” Revere said. “If you go to the driving range or putting green, then that forfeits your practice round. Unfortunately for the girls, at Oso Golf Course there is no driving range, so they get to put a little bit, then everybody has to start cold. I’m a little frustrated with that, because you’d think they could find a course with a driving range for the regional round.”

Revere said apart from the girls not having a driving range, his only concern regarding regionals is the potential of strong winds along the coastline in Corpus Christi. Otherwise, he has all the confidence in the world.

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