AUSTIN — The Blanket Tigers are bringing home silver medals after finishing as the runner-up at the Class A Boys Golf State Tournament at Lions Municipal Golf Course Tuesday.
After Monday's first round, Blanket owned an 18-stroke advantage, but Garden City stormed back to claim the state title by 16 strokes.
“I'd be lying if I said we weren't very disappointed,” said Blanket golf head coach Monty Jones. “It's the first time we played with a lead and we played not to get beat. We were trying to protect the lead and Garden City didn't have anything to lose. They came out playing free-wheeling golf and made up ground in the first eight holes. They came to play and each member of their team shot very well. There weren't any holes in their game. They shot below 340 today and we've never shot 340.”
Blanket posted a 352 team score Monday, followed by a 370 Tuesday. Garden City, meanwhile, opened with a 370 and answered with a 336.
“(Monday) was one of the best rounds we ever played,” Jones said. “We were averaging about 362 and then we shoot 10 strokes better. It's really hard to improve when you're anxious and sitting there and wondering. It just got away from us.
“We could have gone belly up and not done a whole lot, but the kids fought through and we beat Iredell, the third-place team and the team that beat us at regionals, by about 20 strokes. We're not really happy with our medals at the moment, but after we have a few hours to think about it, it's not a bad deal to be the No. 2 team in the state.”
Individually, Luke Kinkade also finished second with a 146 composite, carding rounds of 71 and 75. Kinkade, seeking his second individual state title, finished behind only Seth Bearden of Crowell, who opened with a 72 and closed with a 73 for a one-shot victory.
“Luke started out with a triple bogey on hole No. 1,” Jones said, referencing Tuesday's final round. “His tee shot went right and got in some woods. He ended up birdieing the last hole to come within one stroke. He battled back, the kid never quits, and we has trying to pull both us and himself up for the gold. He was trying so hard and it was just more than we could take.”
Trenten Verner added a 188 for Blanket with rounds of 88 and 100; Blake Hood chipped in a 191 with founds of 95 and 96; Mark Lopez contributed a 197 with rounds of 98 and 99 and Josh Schwab turned in a 206 with rounds of 100 and 106.
“I'm proud of these guys, Jones said. “From where we started this year to where we ended up was a heck of a deal.”