Girls golf team finishes 5th at State
By Keith Sparks
To close one of the most successful seasons in recent memory for Liberty Hill’s girls’ golf team, the Panthers finished fifth, overall, at the State Tournament that took place Monday and Tuesday at Slick Rock Golf Course in Horseshoe Bay.
As a team, the Panthers shot 358 on day one and 342 on day two, finishing with a total score of 700 behind Andrews in first with 644, Lebanon trail in second with 675, Wylie in third with 678, and Seminole in fourth with 695.
Liberty Hill Head Coach Ryan Revere gave his girls credit, but admitted that they wish they’d have performed better despite the difficult course.
“We’re pleased, but we know we could have played a little better,” Revere said. “I think just the mental game, really. It’s a tougher course. It’s a State Championship course. Distance is a little bit longer than most courses we’ve played, about 5700 yards with 77 bunkers.”
Revere placed some of the blame on the girls playing too aggressively at times, making subsequent shots harder than they should have been. After a dominant performance at Regionals, Revere and the Panthers expected a better performance at State.
“I think our expectations were really, really high coming out of how well we played at Regionals,” Revere said. “I think they went out there looking to shoot a certain score and not quite playing the right way, going back to the mental part of the game again.”
The Panthers were flat out dominant throughout most of the season, but Revere said it was clear from the first tee box that the competition this week would be stiffer.
“We felt confident going in, but you’re surrounded by 72 of the best golfers in the state of Texas in 4A,” Revere said. “I watched every group tee off and nobody missed the fairway. It was pretty impressive.”
Although the final result wasn’t what they had hoped, Revere and the Panthers are confident that this experience will only make them better. Freshman Sarah Baker, in particular, will have a few more opportunities during her Liberty Hill career to make it back to State.
“(Baker) was a little frustrated with herself about halfway through the back nine,” Revere said. “I said, ‘Look, you’re young, and if you’re going to take something away from this, take away the experience of it, because if we keep getting better, we can make it back here again.’”
Cheryl Gauthier finished with the best score on the team, shooting an 80 on Monday and a 79 on Tuesday for a total of 159. She said she felt nervous throughout most of the tournament and chalked their mistakes up to inexperience.
“I think we were pretty tense, since this is our first time as a team going to State,” Gauthier said. “Half of our players didn’t really know what to expect, but I think we did pretty well for our first time. Fifth in the state is pretty good.”
Gauthier made an appearance at the State Tournament last year, which she said made this year a bit easier, but the importance of every swing still had an impact.
“I had a lot of mental breakdowns,” Gauthier said. “It was really, really stressful, but I enjoyed it, because I went last year and I wasn’t as nervous.”
Going into day two, Gauthier said the team wasn’t nearly as tense, leading to a significantly lower score on the day.
“I think our mindset was different,” Gauthier said. “We had a couple pep talks, and we were just saying we’re very confident in how we’re doing. We’re in a good spot. We weren’t worrying about anything.”
Mackenzy Turner finished second on the team with an 83 on Monday and an 86 on Tuesday for a total of 169, followed by Arrianna Rocha with a 91 on Monday and an 83 on Tuesday for a 174, Sarah Baker with a 104 on Monday and a 94 on Tuesday for a 198, and Jena Pina with a 144 on Monday and a 127 on Tuesday for a 271.