BLANKET — With four top five finishes at the Class A boys golf state tournament — including a state championship as a sophomore — to his credit, recent Blanket graduate Luke Kinkade will continue his golf career, and education, at Tyler Junior College.
“Since the start of high school that was the ultimate step, to get to play golf in college, so I’m pretty excited,” Kinkade said.
Kinkade’s decision on where he would play came down to a pair of options.
“It really came down to two schools — Tyler Junior College and Oklahoma Baptist,” Kinkade said. “I went to Tyler and played and connected with the team well and really liked the coach. That’s what stood out the most to me.”
Luke’s sister, Marki, will also be residing in Tyler as the two-time Class A girls golf state champion signed with NCAA Division III UT-Tyler during the spring.
After finishing fourth at state as a freshman in 2015, Kinkade won the 2016 Class A boys golf state championship at Lions Municipal Golf Course in Austin. He then placed fourth again in 2017 and added a silver medal as a senior in 2018.
“I’m pretty proud of what I’ve done, I can’t complain,” Kinkade said. “It could have been a lot worse. There’s a lot of people that don’t ever make it to state.”
As a sophomore, Kinkade fired a 150 composite score to capture the state title. As a senior, Kinkade improved by four shots with a 146 — including a first round of 71, the best opening 18 holes in Class A boys state golf history. In the end, however, Kinkade finished one stroke behind state champion Seth Bearden of Crowell.
The Tigers, as a team, also finished second to Garden City, improving on their fifth-place effort in 2017. Both Kinkade and the Tigers were in first place at the midway point of the event, however, which resulted in a bittersweet finish to the tournament.
“We were all upset basically for the ride home,” Kinkade said. “We talked about it later and things could have been a lot worse, so we got over it pretty quick once we got back home.”
Kinkade is ready to pursue golf at the collegiate level and hopes his career can continue once his time at Tyler Junior College reaches its conclusion.
“I really hope to be a standout player,” Kinkade said in regard to his goals at TJC. “Being it’s a two-year school, I hope I stand out enough to get picked up by a Division I school.”