Golf teams play in final tournament before district


By Keith Sparks

The Liberty Hill boys’ golf team played in their final regular season tournament on Tuesday, although only two golfers were able to compete from start to finish due to injuries.

Donnie Harper and John Baker were the only Panthers healthy enough to compete, Harper finishing with an 81 and Baker with a 78.

Both golfers finished close to the top 10, which Coach Ryan Revere said is encouraging heading into the district tournament that takes place in two weeks.

“I’m excited, because this was our last real tournament before we go to district,” Revere said. “We just have one practice round where we’re all going to go as a group. We’ll go out there and scout the course, so we know how we want to play it.”

Revere said the weather conditions made life difficult on all golfers that competed in the tournament, but Harper and Baker had played the course enough to know where they needed to play each ball.

“It was misty and foggy till almost 2 p.m., so the range finders didn’t even work,” Revere said. “Luckily for John and Donnie, they’ve played that course enough that they knew where to put it, they knew about where to hit the ball. That’s why they turned in some decent scores.

Revere said Baker could have easily finished among the top five golfers if not for a mishap on the 18th green. Baker had a 15-foot birdie putt to get him to 76, left it short, then lipped it out on the next putt for par.

“Sometimes, you just don’t putt like you want to, or else he probably would have finished top five,” Revere said. “That’s just the way golf is.”

The Panther golfers had a bit of a following on Tuesday, including former golf coach Danny Knowles, the injured Charlie Calabretta and Matt Sterling, and senior golfer Parker McCurdy, who opted to sit out of Tuesday’s tournament after playing a grueling state basketball tournament over the weekend.

Revere said the gallery of Panthers made Tuesday’s competition particularly enjoyable.

“It was kind of fun, because we had a little gallery,” Revere said. “Coach Knowles came out, and these kids grew up with him. Knowles and I rode together, and the other injured ones and Parker followed the two that were playing, so it was kind of fun. In golf, you’re not supposed to talk with the players. Only one person is, but it’s kind of relaxed for most of these tournaments that don’t really have any implication on playoffs and what not.”

Sterling actually started to play in Tuesday’s tournament before his back tightened up around the seventh hole, thanks in large part to his participation in a tough football offseason program. Calabretta’s injury took place in the weight room, as well, as he fractured his wrist on the squat rack. All three of Sterling, Calabretta, and McCurdy plan on competing in the district tournament.

The district tournament will take place at White Wing Golf Club in Georgetown, which Revere said is a welcome change after often being forced to play in opponents’ territory in recent years.

“One thing we talked about last year was finding a neutral site,” Revere said. “That way, we’re not playing a round in Burnet to give them an edge, a round in Salado to give them an edge, same thing with Lampasas.”

The Panther girls’ golf team competed Wednesday in their final regular season tournament, as well, but results weren’t available at press time.