AUSTIN — A costly front nine that saw them soar as many over par (14) as they went on the entire 18 holes on day one snuffed PN-G’s 4A state championship dreams Tuesday. In the end, however, it wouldn’t have mattered how well the Indians played early on, because nobody was going to catch Highland Park Blue.
The No. 1 ranked Scots shot an amazing four-man total of six-under 274 at Onion Creek Golf Club and won by a whopping 25 strokes over Cedar Park. With Scottie Scheffler’s sizzling 64 leading the way, Highland Park Blue could boast of four players shooting 72 or better. That added up to a closing 274 and a 36-hole score of even par 560.
Scheffler, who claimed medalist honors with a 135 (71-64), punctuated his championship performance with an ace on the 144-yard, 17th hole. His 135 was three shots clear of 138s posted by the runner-up duo of Humble Summer Creek’s Conner Black, who closed with a 65, and Nacogdoches’ Collin Frizzel, who shot 68 on Tuesday.
PN-G, which started the day in fourth place, rallied on the back nine to climb into third place, then fell back into a tie for 5th with San Antonio Alamo Heights. The Indians, playing the back nine in only three over, shot 297 for a 36-hole score of 591.
Cedar Park was second at 585, Austin Vandergrift third at 589 and Northwest Nelson fourth at 590. It was the second straight year for PN-G to finish fifth at the state tournament, meaning the fourth place of the 1993 Indians remains the school’s high water mark.
“The front nine killed us, the first six holes, really,” said PN-G coach Ricky Keyes. “But I’m so proud of these kids for the way they fought on the back nine. We had the third-place medal in our grasp. To have it slip away was just heartbreaking.”
Sophomore Braden Bailey set the pace for PN-G on Friday, rolling in four birdies on the back nine for a 68 that tied for the fourth best round of the day. Bailey, who had posted a 73 on Monday, wound up tied for seventh with a one-over 141.
“Braden shot 68 and it could have been a lot lower,” said Keyes. “He had so many good birdie chances and he never really had to grind. He could have gone really low if some putts had fallen.”
The Indians also got a 74-147 from Jarrod Brown, a 76-148 from Lonnie Labove and a 79-155 from Tyler Rawson. Brandon Soileau, whose score didn’t count either day, shot 85-168.
Brown, a senior playing his final round for PN-G, showed amazing resilience on the way to his 74. He got off to a disastrous start by going bogey, double bogey, triple bogey on the first three holes and was eight over through seven holes. Then he went on a tear of four straight birdies from 8 through 11, shot 33 on the back and went out with his head high. His 147 wound up tying for 23rd.
“Jarrod was incredible. What he did says so much about his character,” said Keyes. “A lot of kids who started like he did would have shot 90. But he’s not the kind to give up. It was pretty inspiring to see a senior fight the way he did on his last round for PN-G.”
Labove, who had PN-G’s low score of 72 on Monday, appeared to be on his way to another solid round on Tuesday. He made the turn in two-over 37 and was still two over through 14 holes. His day would end on the sour note of four consecutive bogeys, leaving the senior tied for 26th overall.
“The thing about Lonnie, he kept us in contention for the longest time,” said Keyes. “I know he didn’t finish the way he wanted to, but we wouldn’t have been in position to challenge for a medal if he hadn’t played so well the first 34 holes.”
Highland Park, meanwhile, played Onion Creek like it was the Scots home course. In addition to Scheffler’s 64 on Tuesday, HP got a 68 from Jake Potter, a 70 from Charlie Click and a 72 from Drake Turnbull. Levi Pettit, whose 70 paced the Scots on Monday, shot a 76 on Tuesday, meaning his score didn’t even count.
On the individual leaderboard, Highland Park had five players in the top 17.
The Scots also had a second team at the state tourney. Highland Park Gold finished 8th in the 12-team field. The No. 1 play on HP Gold shot 75-72 and finished 22nd overall. — Bob West
Listed below are the team scores from the 4A state golf championship played Monday and Tuesday at Onion Creek Golf Club in Austin
1. Dallas Highland Park Blue 286-274 — 560
2. Cedar Park 291-294 — 585
3. Austin Vandergrift 298-291 — 589
4. Northwest Nelson 296-294 — 590
T5. Port Neches-Groves 294-297 — 591
T5. San Antonio Alamo Heights 290-301 — 591
7. Granbury 308-290 — 598
8. Dallas Highland Park Gold 307-297 — 604
9. Denton Guyer 305-305 — 610
10. Prosper 308-304 — 612
11. Huntsville 312-304 — 616
12. Montgomery 316-313 — 619
Listed below are the top individual scores from the 4A state golf championship played at the par 70 Onion Creek Golf Club in Austin
1 Scheffler, Scottie Dallas Highland Park Blue 71-64—135
T2 Black, Connor Humble Summer Creek 73-65—138
T2 Frizzell, Collin Nacogdoches 70-68—138
T4 Jackson, Devin Hallsville 70-69—139
T4 Phillips, Chandler Huntsville 70-69—139
6 Stith, Sutherland San Antonio Alamo Heights 69-71—140
T7 Bailey, Braden Port Neches-Groves 73-68—141
T7 Sanders, Jordan Cedar Park 71-70—141
9 Johnson, Ryan Northwest Nelson 75-67—142
T10 Potter, Jake Dallas Highland Park Blue 75-68—143
T10 Alley, Bryce Longview Pine Tree 74-69—143
T10 Click, Charlie Dallas Highland Park Blue 73-70—143
T10 Martinez, William Austin Vandergrift 71-72—143
T14 Kinsey, Austin Granbury 76-68—144
T14 Turnbull, Drake Dallas Highland Park Blue 72-72—144
16 Phillips, Chase Austin Vandergrift 75-70—145
T17 Vasquez, Jonathan Bryan Rudder 75-71—146
T17 Bennett, Grant Prosper 74-72—146
T17 Vanderburg, Jack Wolfforth Frenship 73-73—146
T17 Campbell, Zach Fort Worth Arlington Heights 71-75—146
T17 Pettit, Levi Dallas Highland Park Blue 70-76—146
T22 Brown, Jarrod Port Neches-Groves 73-74—147
T26 LaBove, Lonnie Port Neches-Groves 72-76—148
T48 Rawson, Tyler Port Neches-Groves 76-79—155
70 Soileau, Brandon Port Neches-Groves 83-85—168