By Mike Kays
Phoenix Sports Editor
Kailey Campbell didn’t end last year the way she’d liked to have but the 2013 season started rather nicely.
The Oktaha senior golfer shot 74 for a one-stroke victory in the Oktaha Invitational tournament held at Fountainhead Creek Golf Course on Wednesday. Campbell’s win came against some stiff competition. Poteau’s Hannah Ward, the defending 4A champion, shot 75. No other golfer was within nine strokes of the pair.
Campbell was third last year after winning state in 2011. Oktaha’s three-year team champion run fell shy of a fourth last spring.
“I’ve worked through the summer and into the winter on my game because of that,” Campbell said. “I didn’t feel good coming up three strokes short.”
That was the team difference. Campbell was five back of Rejoice Christian’s Katie Lee Wilson, who wound up fifth on Wednesday with an 89 and played as the foursome as Campbell.
Campbell had a two-shot lead at the par-3 18th and after hitting the sand on her tee shot, sank a four-foot putt for bogey to avoid a playoff.
“I had a pretty good pad at that point, thankfully,” she said.
That she did. Down one at the turn, Campbell hit the green in two on a par-5 11th and two-putted for birdie, then sank a 22-foot birdie shot on the par-3 12th. She made it three birdies in four holes when she drove the par-4 15th, then two-putted.
Henryetta’s Morgan Brown and Joley Vance shot 84s and finished third, helping the Lady Knights to the team title at 361. Eufaula, which got 91s from Melissa Eldredge and Faith Lasiter, was second at 374. Eldredge and Lasiter tied for sixth individually.
Hilldale was third at 375. Kennedi Puckett shot 92 to lead the Lady Hornets, finishing eighth, and Courtney Cunningham, who was sixth at 4A state last year, fired a 93 to tie for ninth with Fort Gibson’s Emilee Rigsby.
Poteau was fourth teamwise at 381, followed by Oktaha at 389. Fort Gibson was seventh in the 10-team field at 416 and Checotah was ninth at 458.
All of Oktaha’s team from a year ago returns, including three of the top 12 at state (Madyson Fox and Jaylie Roper).
“Teamwise we didn’t play to our level but we will,” Campbell said.
Much of this field will be at Cobblestone for Hilldale’s tournament on Tuesday.