Garden City hopes to medal, have fun at state

Probably the best advice that Garden City Coach David Wood can give his young girls golf team is to have fun at the Class 1A State Tournament.

The Lady Bearkats will be making their third straight trip to the state with hopes of looking to improve on their fourth-place finish from a year ago when the Class 1A Girls Golf State Tournament begins on Monday at Plum Creek Golf Course in Kyle.

“We’re pretty confident but we’re still young,” Wood said. “We have two freshmen, a sophomore and two seniors. We have no seniors, so we’ll see how we handle the pressure of state and see if we can get after it.

“Of course we want to win. Getting a medal would be our No. 2 goal. But really, our main goal should be to have fun, and that is now important. Have fun, play Loose and whatever happens. ”

Garden City qualified for state by winning the Region I-1A title at Lubbock’s Reese Golf Center on April 19 by 30 strokes over Fort Elliott with a two-round total of 777. Junior Shelby Braden led the team by finishing in a tie for second place with a 91-90—181 total. Freshman teammate and Woods’ daughter, Rylee, was sixth after firing an 87-96-183.

“I’m excited about the way I played,” Braden said. “I’m hoping to continue to play well and hope I can help my team.

“Last year, we came up a little short of getting a medal. We’ve put in a lot of work this year and I think it will definitely help us going in. ”

Added Rylee Wood: “I’m excited I get to go with the team to state my freshman year. With no seniors on the team, in a way I’m surprised but we’ve really worked hard. We just need to keep working and practicing. ”

Braden and Rylee Wood are joined by freshman Amber Schwartz, sophomore Briana Halfmann, who was also on the last year’s state qualifying team, and junior Kara Roberts, who had a top 10 finish at the regional tournament.

“The girls are shooting better this year than we did last year, even though three of the girls weren’t on last year’s state tournament team,” David Wood said. “At the regionals, everybody kind of contributed to winning that thing. I think it’s tremendous to do that heading to state. Just dealing with the pressure of playing at the regionals and dealing with the pressure of playing with friends, family watching you, will help us out in dealing with the pressure that comes with the state. Rylee had 14 carts of family members following and watching her play. That experience will make a difference when you go up against someone like Robert Lee, who has won it for three years in a row. ”

Braden said last year she had the Seniors to help calm her nerves. Now that she’s a Veteran at the state tournament, she said she’s going to try to be a calming force for players who may get nervous.

“I learned to take it one shot at a time,” Braden said. “If you have a bad shot, it might affect the next one, so you just have to play through it, forget about it and go on to the next shot.”

Follow Oscar on Twitter: @OLeRoy_MRT

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