During consecutive weeks, Brownwood High School will be represented at the Class 4A golf state tournaments at Plum Creek Golf Course in Kyle.
Lady Lion senior Mallory Garcia will put the finishing touches on her high school athletic career with her first appearance in the girls golf state tournament Monday and Tuesday.
The following week, May 20-21, Lion senior Jaryn Pruitt — the 2017 Class 4A boys state champion and a bronze medalist last year — will shoot for a third consecutive state medal and second title in three years.
Pruitt has reached the top of the mountain in Class 4A boys golf, and wants to do so again as he approaches his final high school golf tournament.
“This tournament means everything,” Pruitt said. “I was going into the regional tournament thinking I want my last year to be my best. I was kind of speechless to make it to state again. Finishing in third place last year and with a victory my sophomore year, I know how difficult this is, but I just want to have fun.”
Pruitt's previous two state appearances were at Apple Rock Golf Course at Horseshoe Bay, while this year's tournament has changed venues with the move to Plum Creek Golf Course in Kyle.
“I'm still going in with the same mindset,” Pruitt said. “I'm going to play a practice round with Mallory Saturday so we'll be able to learn something about the course, which will be a great help.”
Regardless of where the tournament is played, Pruitt has experienced the pressure that comes with fighting for a state championship.
“I have some experience at state, so I have a lot of confidence in myself,” he said. “I just want to go down there, compete and have fun. That's all I can really think about.”
Pruitt finished as the second-place medalist at the Region I-4A tournament at Shadow Hills Golf Course in Lubbock April 24-25 with a 142 composite score following rounds of 72 and 70. Pampa’s Braxton Floyd (138) and Seminole’s Cason Johnson (144) claimed the other two medalist positions.
After the grind of the regional tournament, Pruitt took a little time to recharge his batteries.
“I took a week off after regionals, which was pretty nice, so I need to get some things together,” he said, with the tournament a week and a half away.
Looking at the competition, Pruitt — who will continue his golf career at Midland College — feels his future roommate and teammate could prove to be the golfer to beat.
“My roommate J.T. Pittman from Monahans, he's a really good player and one of my best friends,” Pruitt said. “I'll be looking out for him.”
Pittman shot a 141 at regionals for Monahans, which was the second-place team with a 587 composite score.
Regarding his goals for his final high school tournament, Pruitt said, “Even par would be good. If I can go in the low 60s, that'd be very nice, and I'd like to come back with some hardware.”
Garcia, who has played just a handful of rounds of golf her senior season, finished third overall at the Region I-4A tournament after winning the District 7-4A championship.
“It's sunk in but nerves are coming back now that it's getting closer,” Garcia said. ”I just keep thinking about getting ready to go and teeing off.”
Though Garcia hasn't spent much time on the course competitively this spring, she's put in plenty of work since playing at the regional tournament at Shadow Hills Golf Course in Lubbock on April 22-23.
“It's a lot of hours on the golf course and on the range, chipping, putting,” Garcia said in regard to her preparation. “Coming out of basketball I go straight into golf so I don't prepare much during basketball. I don't really go out to the course at all unless it's on the weekend and someone wants to play.”
Posting a 151 composite score at regionals that included a career-best round of 73 followed by a 78, Garcia is playing as well as she ever has and is hopeful that momentum carries over to state.
“Right now I feel pretty confident but golf is such a different sport it doesn't matter how confident you feel or how good you've been playing, every shot's a new shot so it's hard to judge that,” she said.
As for her state goals, Garcia said, “I want to stay in the 70s both days, stay humble, play to my ability and have fun with it. It's my last tournament so I want to have fun.”
Garcia, who is set to play basketball at Howard Payne upon graduation, has pondered playing golf in college as well after the success of this spring.
“I have thought about it but I don't know how that would work,” Garcia said. “But I am considering it more.”