By a long shot, girls take 1st in Regional Tournament

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By Keith Sparks

Last week, the Panther girls’ golf team proved that they were far and away the best team in the region with a convincing first-place finish. As a team, the Panthers finished with 664 total stroked, which was 65 strokes better than second-place Salado. Gatesville finished third as the final team from 4A Regional III to qualify for State.

Head Girls’ Golf Coach Ryan Revere wasn’t surprised by their dominance, as they’ve used Salado as their competitive barometer all season long. After the groups were set, it was clear they’d be the two best teams in the Regional Tournament.

“We flat-out dominated,” Revere said. “Based on the groups from each district, because I saw some of the scores, I knew Salado was going to be pretty good, but when I saw the rest of the scores from Region III, Salado and us were the frontrunners by about 50 strokes. It was a good feeling going in. Just relax and go play golf, and we played really good golf.”

As individuals, Liberty Hill’s Cheryl Gauthier finished first in the region with a 154, followed closely by fellow Panther Mackenzy Turner with a 158 for second place. Liberty Hill’s Arrianna Rocha took sixth in the region with a 172, Sarah Baker took 15th with a 180, and Jena Pina finished 68th with a 269.

Revere knew from the beginning of the season that his team would have a chance at State, and it became even clearer as they progressed through district.

“I knew we would improve, and after we got our full team of five together and they started gelling, I knew that we would get better,” Revere said. “After the district round, we kind of struggled the first day. It was kind of a windy day and the greens hadn’t been watered for about a week, so they were fast, which kind of inflated the scores, but when we turned around and played in Lampasas, I think we were down to Salado by six strokes, and we turned around and dropped 22 strokes on them and ended up winning by about 18. Once we played on a course that we could take advantage of, we just played really good.”

The Panthers have been playing against Salado in tournaments all season long, so they knew what the competition would look like. At the Regional Tournament, Revere said his team looked better in just about every aspect, particularly off the tee and on the greens.

“We played with Salado in about five tournaments, so they’re kind of the bar that we set ourselves against,” Revere said. “They were the number one team last year. We’ve got strong kids. I’d say we’re stronger off the tee box than most and they’re really smarter players. They know how to take an approach shot, not a gamble shot, and putting was definitely a difference. I know I talked to Mackenzy after her first round and she was very aware of how her putts were, and she said that’s all she wanted to work on for day two.”

Next, each of the Panther girls’ golfers will compete in the State Tournament against the best golfers in the state of Texas. Revere said they’re allowed one round to practice on the course, which they’ll take advantage of after STAAR testing is over. He expects his girls to study every inch of the course, taking note of its details.

“We’ll pick a day after we’re done with STAAR tests, and we’ll go down there as a group and kind of study the course, play it,” Revere said. “The girls are really good about not just playing a round of golf. They’ll draw the greens, they have their sketchbook, so they know what to expect. They’ll read the greens a little bit, so it’s not just a round of golf that they go and play. They’re pretty good about putting together what the course looks like. You only get one round.”

Between now and their practice round, Revere expects his team to practice on their own at their respective home courses.

“They’ll still hit together and play some golf, just because they like each other,” he said.

The State Tournament will take place at Slick Rock at Horseshoe Bay on May 21-22.

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