Billies set for success in girls' state golf tourney
The girls of Billies golf are looking to break out on their own.
Fredericksburg High School’s golf has had a successful run on the boys’ side, but it’s time for the girls to take over and chase some hardware in the UIL Class 4A Golf State Tournament on Monday and Tuesday at Horseshoe Bay’s Slick Rock Golf Course.
“According to the scores (from regional tournaments), I think we’re in sixth,” coach Tim Kaman said. “The problem with trying to look at scores and compare is we might have played a longer course or a more difficult course. If we go by last year, we just finished fourth. We were six strokes out. I think we were close to getting third.
“I really think we have a chance to medal. I know teams could have gotten transfers or gotten better, but I think our girls have gotten better. I think we have a good shot at getting a medal.”
The girls have a chance to one up the boys in the friendly rivalry between the two FHS squads that constantly make trips to state and compete for medals at that level.
“We don’t want to be negative to the guys at all,” senior Delaney Whitworth said. “We’re definitely going to whip their butts and that’s fine. It’s definitely time that one of the girls’ teams stepped up and took one of the golds instead of the boys’ getting the honors.”
“I feel like the boys’ golf team is very cocky and this year, it’s the girls,” senior A’Hisha Rodriguez said. “We’re like, ‘We can do it, too.’”
Whitworth and Rodriguez, along Allison James, Estella McMurrey and Gracie Grona won the Region IV-4A tournament by 51 strokes to take back-to-back titles.
It’s no surprise that FHS rolled through district and regionals after strong play during the fall and spring, which included tournament titles against 5A and 6A programs.
Experience is one reason why the Billies entered the season with expectations of returning to state, with four out of five golfers from 2017’s fourth place team back at state.
James, McMurrey, Whitworth and Grona played for last year’s fourth-place team, which combined for a score of 728 strokes over the two-day tournament.
“I think, honestly, that we’ve built a really strong team this year,” Whitworth said. “We’re bonding with one another. I think we all know that we all need to play our best so we can have each other’s backs. Say I’m having a bad day. I know all of my girls are there to back me up and put lower scores down. So we all kind of balance each other out there.”
Kaman thinks the potential for all five girls to shoot in the 80s during the tournament exists and could get them past the fourth and fifth place finishes FHS has recorded at the team’s last three state tournaments.
A few of them might even post up some rounds in the 70s before the end of the tournament.
“At regionals, we had all of them shoot in the 80s,” Kaman said. “If we do that and all of them shoot in the low 80s, then this year, I think we’re going to medal.
“We have a couple of girls who could shoot in the 70s if they put things together. We’ll see. It depends on what they’re doing.”
James, a sophomore, gained experience playing in South Texas PGA tournaments and an Optimist Club national tournament during the summer of 2017.
She has the game to put up back-to-back rounds under 80, which might be good enough for a top five finish or better.
“It’s just a matter of putting it all together.” Kaman said. “There are some days where she hits it real well and doesn’t putt well. Or she’s not hitting real well but putting lights out. I think she could shoot in the 70s.”
McMurrey, the team’s lone junior, has the potential for those scores as well as Grona, the team’s second sophomore.
Rodriguez didn’t play for last year’s state group, but the senior will play an important part in the team’s medal quest.
“She played some varsity tournaments last year and played in regionals with that second group that did well,” Kaman said. “She’s got some tournament experience.
“We’ve taken the girls over there and played in two tournaments, so she’ll know the course. Right now, she’s really playing well. I kind of think she’s going to be a big key. Her last couple of rounds were in the 80s and when that happens, that makes us a better team.”
Rodriguez looks forward to playing her final rounds on the big stage.
“That feels amazing and I’m glad I got to do it my senior year with such amazing people,” she said.
Previous marks: Sophomore Allison James had FHS’ top score in 2017, shooting 89 and 83 to finish with a score of 172. The other FHS scores were: Estella McMurrey 184; Delaney Whitworth, 199; and Gracie Grona, 211.
Title contenders: Region I has both the defending team and individual champions from 2017.
Andrews won last year’s team title and figures to be the favorite heading into the state tournament.
The 4A powerhouse took two teams to last year’s state meet and finished first and third, respectively.
All five of Andrews’ golfers played in last year’s state tournament, which marked a seventh straight championship and nine in 11 years.
Seminole finished second place last season.
Liberty Hill and Frisco Lebanon Trail are the other regional championship teams.
Individual favorites: Maddi Olson of Abilene Wylie returns after winning last year’s individual state title with a two-day score of 146.
Rachel Huffman of Andrews tied for third place in 2017, with rounds of 76 and 77.
Longview Spring Hill’s Zoe Mayfield and Frisco Lebanon Trail’s Olivia Mitchell both placed in the top 10.
Bohyun Park of Carrollton Ranchview, Cheryl Gauthier of Liberty Hill and Faith Kilgore of Wimberley, along with Olson, enter the tournament as their respective regional champions.