By Mike Kays
Phoenix Sports Editor
Nature intervened in the state golf tournaments on Thursday, bringing about the cancellation of the final round of three tournaments, making Wednesday’s first 18 holes stand as the final results.
Hilldale benefited. Oktaha didn’t.
The Lady Hornets’ first-round lead was the difference at Lake Hefner in Oklahoma City as Hilldale’s one-stroke advantage over defending champion Poteau holds. Oktaha, meanwhile, wound up one stroke behind Hinton, falling short in its quest for a fourth title in five years.
“There’s probably an asterisk by it but everyone had the same opportunity to lead this thing yesterday and everybody knew what the weather might do and I told our girls before we started that we needed to approach this as if it was a one-day tournament,” Hilldale coach Oren Sikes said. “It’s unfortunate but everyone played under that same predicament.”
Oktaha coach Chester Pittman was resigned to that.
“It is what it is,” he said. “We waited until 10 to get going and at that point it started pouring. I think we could have started a couple hours earlier. When you’re talking about one shot difference you’re basically starting from scratch and anything could happen. Heck if you’re within 20 shots as a team you had a chance. One bad score could have made all the difference.
“But it’s about the courses who would lose too much money opening the course again to us on Friday.”
That’s true, said Ron Etheridge, the golf director for the OSSAA.
“We get a youth rate of $7 per golfer on a two-day contract. The courses still sell the carts and pro shop is open so they still have the opportunity to make some money but beyond those two days they have their members and other patrons with tee times. We set it for two days and everyone knows from the start in any year it can wind up as an 18-hole tournament. Unfortunately for three it just became that situation.”
It also kept Kailey Campbell from regaining the championship she lost last year. She wound up third with a 6-over 76, behind defending champion Katie Lee Wilson of Rejoice Christian and Macy Harrington of Hinton who carded rounds of 74 and 75 respectively. Campbell beat Wilson in regionals a week ago.
“It’s disappointing because 76 isn’t what I wanted to go out on. I couldn’t buy a putt yesterday. They were either rolling past the cup or lipping it,” Campbell said.
One of those was a miss on 18 that could have tied the team standings.
“I know we would have played better today,” she added. “Several of us didn’t post our normal scores in the first round and I think that would have changed.”
Madyson Fox finished her first round for the Lady Tigers with a 93 while Jaylie Roper (94) and Dakota Dearman (99) rounded out Oktaha’s scoring.
Hilldale’s Katie Kirkhart’s fifth-place finish led the Hornets. The freshman had won two previous tournaments and shaved four strokes off her score on her second nine Wednesday, finishing with an 84.
“I just give God the glory for this,” she said. “I think we had some nerves yesterday just because it was the state tournament but we were able to pull it off.”
Paige Snyder was next for Hilldale with 88 and Courtney Cunningham, who topped Ward at regionals last week, had a 92. Haleigh Cox shot 95 and Kennedi Puckett a 99.
Poteau’s Hannah Ward and Weatherford’s Darby Morgan were the only ones to play Thursday, to settle a playoff for top medalist. Ward won and like her team, defended her championship. Ward lost to Cunningham in last week’s regional at CobbleStone Golf Course.
Fort Gibson was eighth in 4A at 403. Emilee Rigsby was the only Lady Tiger under 100 with her 86.
The 6A tournament ended with Union’s Marla Souvannasing winning with a 1-under70 at the River Oaks Golf Club in Edmond. Union won by 17 strokes over Broken Arrow.
Classes 3A and 5A finished the full 36 holes.
Under weather reminiscent of golf in Great Britain, the Eufaula Lady Ironheads captured the 3A championship on Thursday at the Duncan Golf and Tennis Club.
Eufaula, which held a 10-stroke lead after Wednesday’s first round, posted a score of 371 in the wet, windy and cold conditions for a two-day total of 716 to finish 20 shots clear of Henryetta, who totaled 355 in the second round to finish at 736.
“The temperature was in the low 40, windy with intermittent rain,” said Eufaula coach Bill Bumgarner. “They’ve played in a bunch of tournaments like this this year, so they were prepared. I knew that they would go out and probably play well.”
Eufaula’s Faith Lasiter entered the day in a three-way tie for first in the individual standings after a first-round 80 and carded an 85 to finish second at 165, two strokes behind Idabel’s Ali White, who won the event with a two-round total of 163. Melissa Eldredge shot a 91 on day two to end of fourth individually at 172 while Heidi Stafford (90-96–186), Hannah Rippy (94-99–193) and Taylor O’Brien (115-106–221) completed Eufaula’s scoring.
The other area two schools in the tournament, Stigler and Keys, struggled in the conditions. The Lady Panthers added a 466 to its first-round score of 422 to finish with an 888 while the Lady Cougars finished the second round with a 469 and a two-day total of 923.
In Class 5A, Emily Pippin of Tahlequah was 14th with a 92-87 — 179 total at Dornick Hills in Ardmore. Deer Creek won the team title with a two-day 676, 10 strokes better than Duncan. Top medalist was Sydney Youngblood of Durant with a 71-76 — 147.
Ronn Rowland contributed to this report.