Phoenix Staff Reports
Chandler Puckett had an early inkling it might be a good day.
The Hilldale junior birdied two of the first four holes Wednesday at the Verdigris Valley Conference high school tournament and went on to post his lowest-ever score, a 4-under 68 for a runaway victory in the medalist race, eight strokes better than Wesley Jackson of Fort Gibson.
The tournament was played at Shangri-La Golf Club on Grand Lake at Monkey Island.
“I only had two other birdies but I had 24 putts all day,” Puckett said. “Other than that I stayed out of trouble with my driver and irons, but my putter was on all day.”
He had a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-4 second and a three-foot tap-in on the par-5 fourth hole. On that one he drove the green in two and a 40-foot-putt for eagle was a little off.
It was a repeat championship for Puckett and Hilldale, which as a team shot 325, six strokes better than runner-up Fort Gibson. Grove was third at 344 and Wagoner was at the bottom of the nine-team field at 399.
Also for Hilldale, Brent Lacrone shot 79 for fourth, Eli Lawley an 86, Tanner Ingle a 92 and Chandler Cotner a 101. Trailing Jackson for Fort Gibson was Dalton Rodden, whose 83 got him sixth, Collin Abdallah (84) was tied for eighth and Ramey Cox and Jake Gandara both carded 88s.
Wagoner’s Garrett Jacobson shared eighth with Abdallah.
Hilldale’s girls repeated as champions as well, shooting 358 to finish comfortably ahead of Fort Gibson’s 427, and also took medalist honors.
Freshman Katie Kirkhart shot 86 for a one-stroke victory over Megan McDaniels. The remaining top five was all Lady Hornets with Courtney Cunningham shooting 88, Paige Snyder a 91 and Haleigh Cox shot 93. Kadrian Shelton, Fort Gibson’s top golfer in the event, shot 95 to tie for sixth place.
Tied for eighth was Emily Rigsby of Fort Gibson and Kennedi Puckett of Hilldale at 97.
Wagoner shot 448 and finished fifth in the eight team battle, got Ryann Jacobson into the top 10 with her 101.
The area girls teams head to 4A regionals next week. Hilldale and Wagoner will play at CobbleStone Golf Club while Fort Gibson will be at Cushing Golf Course. Regionals for the boys teams are in two weeks at Miami.