CAPTION: The Marble Falls Mustangs celebrate finishing as the Class 4A Region III runners-up to advance to the Class 4A state golf tournament for the first time in two decades. Courtesy photo
The Marble Falls High School boys golf team is the Class 4A Region III runner-up and has earned a ticket to the to Class 4A state tournament, which is at The Legends Golf Course in Kingsland with dates and times still to be determined.
The Mustangs shot a 339-322–661 at the regional tournament April 19-20 at the Bearkat Golf Course in Huntsville.
“A year long commitment to working,” head coach Ricky Blackington said. “There’s always ups and downs. You stay committed. We believed we could get out. We put ourselves in position. We believed we could get out of regionals. We believed we can get to state and play among the state’s best.”
The Mustangs had to get through some uncomfortable moments to secure a trip to state.
“After the first day, there was average play,” the coach said. “We started to get down on ourselves, that it wasn’t going to be enough. We mentally had to stay engaged and not give up on ourselves.”
Marble Falls trailed Bulliard (District 18-4A) by eight strokes at the end of the first day and were six strokes better than the Mustangs the second day. Interestingly, both programs are new to Region III.
“We couldn’t catch them,” Blackington said. “We played well, but we still didn’t play well enough.”
Porter Vinson led the Mustangs with an 85-77–162 to finish in the top 10, while Coby Holley was second with an 86-78–164. Kolton Pannell shot an 82-83–165, Bode Moss had an 86-84–170, and Ross Oelschleger scored a 91-87–178.
Blackington noted his golfers had better scores on the back nine than the front nine. The reason?
“Nerves? Maybe,” he said. “In our second round, we did play better.”
He credited what may be the most important traits to golfers for the Mustangs advancing.
“Mental fortitude,” he said. “They hung in and kept playing and realized they could advance.”
In the Class 4A Region III girls golf tournament April 17-18, Marble Falls senior Madison Deberard scored an 83-86–169 to finish seventh, good enough to be named first team all-region but not high enough to advance to the state tournament.
“(Deberard) missed it by two strokes,” Blackington said. “It’s a real tough pill to swallow. She has had a stellar high school golf career, and we are all very excited about Maddie’s future as she goes off to play college golf next year.”
He added the golfer is still going through her collegiate choices.
Also at the girls tournament was Burnet freshman Avery Gowin, who shot a 112-100–212 after suffering through a two-hour rain delay on the second day. Freshman teammate Cambria Neenan, who was the first alternate from the District 24-4A tournament, attended.
“Congratulations to Avery,” head coach Rick Gates said. “She competed well on a very demanding course.”
The Mustangs have reached the state tournament before: in 1994 when they finished third overall and were led by Chad Henderson’s 78-35–113, who was the third medalist; in 2003 when the team finished fourth overall; and in 2001 when they finished sixth overall led by Josh Price’s 70-74–144 that gave him a top 10 finish. In 2002, Price returned as an individual medalist and won state championship thanks to scoring 76-68–144.
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CAPTION: Burnet head coach Rick Gates (left) and freshmen golfers Cambria Neenan and Avery Gowin at the Class 4A Region III tournament April 17-18. Courtesy photo