Golfers from three Galveston County schools will compete in next month’s UIL 6A State Championship tournament in Georgetown.
The Clear Falls Knights qualified as a team, while Niko Nebout (Clear Springs) and Jacob Salazar (Clear Creek) will compete for individual honors. Salazar shot 73-74 to tie Clear Springs’ Nebout (77-70) at 147 for two days over the Eagle Pointe golf course in Mont Belvieu; for Nebout, this will be a fourth consecutive trip to the state finals.
Last week’s Region III-6A regional meet served up some stiff competition and a few surprises as the top three finishers were separated by only 11 shots; but, Kingwood’s first day total of 303 resulted in a four shot lead, which on day two was stretched to eight strokes in front of second place Stratford.
Identical twins Hayes and Holden Hamilton set the tone for Kingwood with top 10 finishes, and defending state champion Matthew Riedel had rounds of 70-73 for medalist honors, all to the surprise of no one.
But the story of the tournament was the determination and grit of the Knights from Clear Falls, who were expected to do well and perhaps win the Region III-6A title. Such was not the case, as a first day total of 315 left them a dozen shots off the lead and wondering what went wrong.
They figured it out, and on day two. Preston Holmes and Christian Hernandez turned in a pair of 73s; Mick Foley (74), Ethan Dahl (78) and Curtis Cameron (78) gave the Knights the lowest score of day two and qualified them for a shot at the state title. They will take on the rest of the best at Legacy Hills Golf Club May 20-21.
For Coach David Ward, who has guided the Clear Falls golf program from its beginning nine years ago, this will be a first and a last: the first trip to the finals and the last tournament of the beloved coach’s career. Just getting to the finals makes for a tasty retirement cake; winning would only make it that much sweeter.
Santa Fe and Friendswood advanced to Region III-5A play at LaTorretta, both having had among their best ever seasons; Texas City Stingaree Nate Brooks competed in the medalist division. For Brooks, as well as Santa Fe Indians Jared Brown, Eric Grady, Camden Greenough, Bailey Link and Michael Moore, the season came to an end.
Friendswood Mustangs Joe Reyes III, Zach Brown, Nathan Grissom, Will Hunt and Adam Genzer also will have to wait until next year for another run up to the state meet.
Clear Creek girls (seventh) and Clear Falls girls (eighth) saw their fine seasons end, but surely will be forces to contend with next year. Trinity Le, Ana Vallejo, Bianca Zamora, Caroline Singletary and Peyton Galyean gave their all for the Wildcats. Knights Erin Flynn, Alessia Rojas, Savannah Zapp, Kendall Kerr and Hanna Neighbors, along with Clear Springs Charger Leslie Hill, also enjoyed and will learn from the playoff experience.
In 5A playoff action, the ever-improving Lady Stingaree America Moya got a taste of playoff action, as did the sixth place Lady Mustangs from Friendswood: Heidi Demel (fifth individually), Hanna Johnston (ninth), Qingyang Li, Genna Dancey, Railey Adkins and Olivia Farber.
Tune in next week for cash game and senior scramble updates.
Be safe, on and off the course.