MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

April 4, 2014

Iron-clad grips: Ironheads, Poteau’s Ward pick up where they left off at Hilldale tourney


Phoenix Staff Reports

— Eufaula was a repeat champion at the Hilldale Invitational girls golf tournament played Thursday at CobbleStone Golf Course.

Poteau’s Hannah Ward made it a career slam, though.

With a 3-over 75, the senior won her fourth Hilldale event, cruising to a seven-stroke win over Muskogee’s Hannah Jones, who got second on a scorecard playoff with Emilee Rigsby of Fort Gibson.

“I’m glad she’s graduating,” said Hilldale coach Oren Sikes with a chuckle. “She’s owned this place for sure.”

Melissa Eldredge of Eufaula led the Ironheads, finishing fourth with an 85 and winning a scorecard playoff with Hilldale’s Kennedi Puckett. Rachel Donaldson of Eufaula beat teammate Heidi Stafford and Hilldale’s Katie Kirkhart in another scorecard tiebreaker, this one for sixth place.

Muskogee’s Sydnie Rosson shot 88 and lost the same tiebreaker for 10th.

The busy scorecards gave an indication of how close this tournament was teamwise. Eufaula, the defending Class 3A champions, shot 353 and beat Poteau by one stroke. Hilldale, the defending 4A champion, was three back at 356 and Muskogee shot 358.

It was the Ironheads’ third team title in four outings, the only miss a second-place finish in their own tournament at Fountainhead, which will host the state tournament again this year. Idabel won that one.

“I got four girls and that’s what they do, they’re always working on their game or practicing or playing,” Eufaula coach Bill Bumgarner said. “We lost two seniors but our two sophomores (Etheridge and Stafford) are strong and Rachel is a move-in that got eligible this year.”

“I see Eufaula winning again in 3A,” Sikes said. “They’re tough, top to bottom. And Muskogee came over with a strong team.”

Muskogee coach Kevin Hogue wouldn’t argue that last sentence.

“That’s the lowest team score we’ve had in the three years I’ve been here,” he said. “And all our girls equaled or bettered their best tournament so far this season today.”

Fort Gibson tied Coweta for fifth with a 387 total.

Other area teams among the 15 schools present included Sequoyah at 432, Tahlequah at 463 and Stigler at 488. Oktaha’s Jaylie Roper played as an individual and was just off the top 10 with a 91.