Galveston County is well represented as round one of the University Interscholastic League Class 6A State Championship golf tournament gets under way Monday at Legacy Hills Golf Club in Georgetown.
For the Clear Falls Knights, this is both a first and a last. Players Preston Holmes, Christian Hernandez, Ethan Dahl, Mick Foley and Curtis Cameron make up the first team to represent their school in the state final in the history of the golf program. Coach David Ward is wrapping up his career as the only coach for that program, which has steadily improved over time.
“We are not yet an elite program, but we are getting there,” Ward said.
The Knights’ season record bears him out: five first-place finishes in 10 outings, followed by a district title at Moody Gardens. Momentum going into the state final stems from five second round scores in the 70s at the Region III-6A tournament last month at Eagle Pointe Golf Course in Mont Belvieu.
For Clear Springs coach Troy Frederick, the 2018-19 season was a sort of re-boot, as the team lost key players to graduation the previous year. Senior Niko Nebout will compete for individual honors in Georgetown, as will Clear Creek’s Jacob Salazar.
“Niko has been working really hard for his upcoming state appearance,” Frederick said. “As we know, it’s his fourth consecutive and I couldn’t be prouder. I have a great feeling about him going up to state and performing very well.”
Like Nebout, Salazar alone will travel to Legacy Hills, his team having suffered misfortune at the Region III-6A tournament. Salazar is only a sophomore and has a history of hitting hot streaks at just the right time. His future, and the outlook for Clear Creek next year look bright said Coach Daniel Brown.
“Looking forward to it,” Brown said. “Next year, it will be my whole team.”
The tournament wraps up Tuesday afternoon.