By Mike Kays
Phoenix Sports Editor
Hilldale graduated its top two golfers off last year’s state champion and had no seniors on this year’s squad.
Not that it mattered.
Make it two straight for the Lady Hornets, who with a 351 on Thursday at Lake Hefner State Park’s South course gave them a 698 score to become back-to-back champs, waiting out an hour rain delay then holding steady in the stretch.
“Based on what the Clinton coach had it figured, we were four down going to the last four holes,” Hilldale coach Oren Sikes said. “We stayed within ourselves and didn’t panic and things just came apart for them.”
Clinton slipped to a 361 (702 overall), after owning a six-shot lead after one round. Fort Gibson had the day’s best round, a 346, to finish second, three back of Hilldale at 701. Emilee Rigsby shot a 76 for a 5-over 151, two shots behind Poteau’s Hannah Ward, who rallied from third place to win her third consecutive state championship.
Hilldale’s Katie Kirkhart shot 8-over 81 and at 13-over 159 overall, stayed in the fourth spot she occupied on Wednesday. Paige Snyder dropped five strokes with an 88 to end up at 181. Kennedi Puckett shot 90 to finish at 179, as did Shelby McGlothlin with a final-round 92. Zoe Jones shot 101 to finish at 201.
Snyder’s rally from Tuesday was big.
“I knew what I had to do,” she said. “Pretty much this whole season I’ve struggled, but I kept my head today. My wood game and hitting off the tee wasn’t good but my approaches, my chipping and my putting were really good. I think I three-putted once today.”
She also finished with a birdie, missing an eagle putt by 10 inches.
“I didn’t know where we were teamwise at that point. I just knew I wanted to finish strong for us.”
Snyder, a junior, is the oldest. Kirkhart, Puckett and Jones are sophomores and McGlothin is a freshman.
“Three-peat is what this means,” Kirkhart said. “It’s out there for us to achieve, God willing.”
Fort Gibson coach Gary Hendrix was proud with his team’s finish on a day when the wet surface broke balls that seemed to run forever on drier ground Wednesday.
“I thought we could have played better Wednesday but we played well (Thursday) and everyone kind of slid back toward us,” he said.
With Ward out of the way after this year, Rigsby, a sophomore, knows she put a lot of attention on herself, being the highest finisher who can return.
“I feel pretty good about it but Katie (Kirkhart)’s right there,” Rigsby said. “I’ve just got to stay focused and work on lowering my score.”
Kadrian Shelton was sixth overall and as one of the top 10 seniors, made All-State. She shot a 78 after a first-day 86. Her 18-over 164 put her sixth overall.
Savannah Gray (96, 193), Abby Tsomas (96, 193) and Shelby Phillips (101, 202) all matched their first-day scores for Fort Gibson.
Poteau (705) was fourth followed by Cache (712), Catoosa (761), Elk City (762), Seminole (765), Muldrow (779), Harrah (796) and Ada (811) Wagoner’s Ryann Jacobson shot a 95 and her 189 total led the Lady Bulldogs, who wound up last among 12 teams at 813.
Melissa Eldredge’s dream of winning a state title on her home course wasn’t shattered by her own doing.
Idabel’s Ali White grabbed the lead with an ace on the par-3 third hole to turn a one-shot deficit into a one-stroke advantage and never let go in downing the Eufaula sophomore at Fountainhead Creek Golf Course in Checotah. White shot a 74 for a 147. Eldredge had a 76 for a 149.
“I felt like I left some strokes on the front then I tried to make a comeback on the back and I made it (getting as close as a stroke through 12) but I think when it’s your day it’s your day and this wasn’t my day today,” Eldredge said.
It was White’s second consecutive title and the senior’s second hole in one, having made one last summer in an adult-junior tournament on a par 4. This one was with a half-swing on a pitching wedge.
“From everyone else’s reaction it told me. I didn’t see it but I was really excited when I knew I had done it,” White said. “I knew I had turned it around and saved myself from that double bogey on the first hole. I felt like mentally I was back where I needed to be.”
Eufaula missed a repeat title teamwise, finishing second after a 333 gave them a 659 for the tournament, 10 strokes behind Purcell (326, 649). Idabel (341, 668) was third and Plainview (356, 707) was fourth.
Rounding out the scores were Henryetta (364, 731), Marlow (383, 772), Lone Grove, 387, 785), Tishomingo (396, 790), Keys (395, 805), Chandler (414, 806), Kingfisher (418, 834) and Cascia Hall (414, 806).
Ashton Nemecek of Purcell shot a 74 and was third at 151.
Eufaula’s Heidi Stafford shot 82 and at 163 was fifth. Teammate Rachel Donaldson was tied for seventh after shooting an 83 for a 167 total but wound up eighth after a four-way playoff. Hope Lassiter shot 92 for a 180 total.
Keys was led by Kaylee Snyder’s 93 putting her at a team-best 192. Ali Nolan slipped four strokes to a 101 but was second on the team at 198.
Britanie Wacoche, Sequoyah’s lone representative at state, shot a 92 to finish at 178.
Muskogee slipped from eighth to 10th at Ponca City Country Club, edging Edmond Memorial and Southmoore, while Hannah Jones stayed on the edge of the top 10.
Muskogee shot 732 for 36 holds after a 370 on Thursday which was eight shots off their first-day total. Union won the tournament by 18 shots, scoring 626 to Broken Arrow’s 644. Bixby was third at 683, followed by Jenks (686), Edmond Santa Fe (693), Owasso (702), Bishop McGuinness (718), Stillwater (723), Mustang (726) and the Roughers.
Edmond Memorial (740) and Southmoore (743) rounded out the field.
Individually, Jones shot a 13-over 85 to finish at 167, 23-over par, and finished 15th. Alexis Sageghy of Bishop McGuinness was first with a 1-over 145, winning by five strokes over Taylor Dobson of Broken Arrow (150) and eight over Union’s Trudy Allen.
Other Muskogee scores were Sydnie Rosson (101, 195), Haley Schuler (97, 189), Brittney Felts, 87, 181) and Katie Matthews (114, 221).
Oktaha’s Jaylie Roper shot a 79 and finished sixth with a 13-over 155 at Trosper Park in Del City.
No area golfers qualified in the 5A event.