Phoenix Staff Reports
The Rock isn’t on the line but Fort Gibson and Hilldale are headed back to state in boys golf.
The Tigers will go as champions, shooting consecutive 301s over the 36-hole tourney for an 18-stroke win over Metro Christian on Monday at Miami’s 6,960-yard Peoria Ridge course. Hilldale was third at 652 and earned the final qualifying team spot.
Wesley Jackson won medalist honors with a 5-under 139 with rounds of 69 and 70. He’ll now shoot for a state title his brother, Brandon (now at Nicholls State on a baseball scholarship), was runner-up at. The Tigers won state that year as a team.
“I’ve got to give a shout out to my team and glory to the man upstairs,” the younger Jackson said after his win Monday.
He also, in his mind, left room for improvement on his own card.
“I hit the ball really well off the tee, put myself in a good position, my short game was at times a little off and I felt like I missed a lot of opportunities on the green,” he said. “These are the best scores I’ve put up this year so I’m not going to complain but I know if I can sharpen things and hit like I did today, I’ll do pretty well next week.”
His aggravation focused on two missed birdie putts “within six feet of the cup” on the first two holes of each round and a two-foot miss for birdie on the 16th in the second round.
Hilldale was third and Chandler Puckett at 150 was a distant runner-up to Jackson. The two played in separate groups the entire day.
Fort Gibson’s scores included Dalton Rhoden (78-74—152), Collin Abdallah (76-78—154), Rayne Cox (78-79—157), Jake Gandara (83-81—164).
Hilldale’s included Eli Lawley (81-83—164), Brent Lacrone (84-81—165), Tanner Ingle (83-90—173) and Chandler Cotner (92-91—183).
Wagoner shot 753 and did not qualify anyone.
Harris Jones shot 77 and 74 to finish fourth overall but more significantly, the Roughers are back at state for the first time since the state championship team of 1998.
“It’s a product of the help of the people at Muskogee Country Club and everyone around this program and of course our kids who have collectively made this happen,” MHS coach James Platter said. “It’s a great feeling.”
Muskogee was fifth overall at 663. Broken Arrow shot 609 to win, followed by Jenks (611), Union (615) and Owasso (617). Bixby (664) is the other east side qualifier for state.
Jones was six shots behind the winner Brady Richardson of Union with a 145.
Spencer Smythe totaled 161, Connor Scott 175, Austin Jones 176 and Tanner Felts a 182.
Harris Jones was thrilled.
“I’m happy for coach Platter who finally gets to take a team and hey, this isn’t just a one-year deal because there’s no a senior out here,” he said. “We just got started.”
He struggled on his putting on the first 18 but birdied two of the first five in his second round, the last one being key.
“That starts a tough stretch of holes where there’s water and native grass everywhere and coach was right when he said you just need to be 1 or 2 over in that stretch to maintain and the rest of the course isn’t that difficult,” he said. “Getting started with the birdie gave me some momentum going into it.”
He was even par on that stretch of holes 5-8.
4A REGIONAL AT SEMINOLE — Checotah did not qualify in the event played at Jimmie Austin Golf Course and Ada shot 593 to advance along with Sallisaw (627) and Poteau (638). Blake Long of Ada shoat 143 for a one-stroke victory over Seminole’s Caleb Cohn.
3A REGIONAL AT SCISSORTAIL, VERDIGRIS — Oklahoma Christian won with a 639 but three area teams qualified for state. Stigler was third at 682 behind Gibson McAlvain’s 165 (86-79) and Lane Stanfill’s 167 (81-86). Tyus Mitchell (173), Cameron Buckner (177) and Levi Moss (183) followed.
Eufaula, led by Luke Van Cleave’s 168 (85-83) and Chris Johnson’s 170 (85-85) was fifth at 728. Callahan Henry (192), Mason Dobbs (198) and Ethan White (206) rounded out the 36-hole scores.
Keys was sixth and Sequoyah’s Rylan Bunch (165) and Kyle Butler (175) also qualified.
5A REGIONAL AT SHAWNEE CC — Tahlequah shot 322 and 329 for a 659 and third place behind Bishop Kelley (620) and Shawnee (632). Jake Johnson (83-75) and Blake Berry (77-81) tied for 11th at 158. Chris Karlovich of Bishop Kelley was champion medalist at 74-75—149. Also for Tahlequah were Brent Spradlin at 165 (81-84), Hunter Pennington, 170 (81-89) and Brandt Emerson, 174 (84-90).