Kingwood Advances to state golf tournament; Memorial, Cypress Creek earn berths

MONT BELVIEU – As of late, Memorial has been the prominent boys golf program in the Houston area, placing second at last year’s state tournament.

The Mustangs came into the two-day Region III-6A tournament as the favorite. A second-round push on Thursday secured another trip to Georgetown.

But Memorial didn’t get all it wanted at Eagle Pointe Golf Club. First-round leader Kingwood held off a late surge by Memorial, winning the regional Championship by a single shot, 619-620.

“Winning wasn’t on our mind, we just wanted to qualify to go to the state,” Kingwood boys Coach Jeff Bellnap said. “Then after playing so well Yesterday, that (winning) became the focus.”

Kingwood compiled rounds of 301-318 for 51 over. Memorial posted scores of 316-304 (52 over).

The outcome came down to the final grouping of the top teams. Kingwood’s Victory wasn’t secured until Luke Lohman drained an up-hill 12-foot par-saving putt. That generated a nice cheer from his teammates, coaching staff and parents gathered off the 18th green.

“I backed off of it, I was really nervous the whole time,” Lohman said. “I had a feeling that I needed to make the putt. It was an important putt for the team. As it was going towards the hole, I had an adrenaline rush and it went right in. I was so excited. ”

Strongly helped by the play of Rex Hargrove and Braeden Hoyt, who finished 1-2 respectively, Cypress Creek grabbed the third and final spot to advance to the May 9-10 state tournament at Legacy Hills Golf Club. At 66 over-634, the Cougars held off fourth-place Clear Lake by only three shots.

The memorial was 15 shots behind Kingwood, and in fourth place, after Wednesday’s round, played in blustery wind. With team scores added up after the 15th hole on Thursday, Kingwood’s lead was 10 shots with three holes remaining.

Kingwood almost gave it away, and the Memorial’s hard charge was led by Charlie Wylie. At 8 over, Wylie shared a third with Kingwood’s Lohman and Brooks Pawlak, as well as Stratford’s Andrew Ferworn and Jonathan Meng (Clear Lake).

“Our team goal was to win the regional championship, but we didn’t play our best yesterday,” Memorial Coach Clayton Brady said. “We just decided to play smarter today, fire away from Pins, have better speed on the greens. We lost by one, but the opportunity to play for the state Championship is really what you want. ”

Hargrove was the only golfer shooting a red number for the tournament, opening with a 1-under-70. A 6-over 77 over the final round left him plus 5. That was two shots clear of his teammate Hoyt, who carded rounds of 73-76.

“Yesterday I played really good golf, missed only three or four golf shots all day,” Hargrove said. “I pulled myself into a great position moving into today and it worked out well. It’s always best when the whole team goes through. ”

In addition to Wylie, representing the Memorial at the state will be Walker Bergen, Tyler Gardner, Preston Rouse and David Martinez.

Rounding out Kingwood’s regional-winning team is Jackson Becker, Eli Anderson and Andrew Tucker.

“It’s great to win,” Pawlak said. “It had been a goal of Ours all season to make it to this stage, and to win it, that’s huge. Memorial’s beat us every time we’ve played them, and we got it done today. ”

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