AUSTIN — The strength of the Goldthwaite Eagles’ golf team all season was its depth, with eight players to choose from for its five-man team. That depth was never more evident than Tuesday during the final round of the state tournament.

Goldthwaite was locked in a tight race with Vega midway through the final round of the UIL Class 2A Boys State Tournament at Roy Kizer Golf Course. Senior and state tournament veteran Brennan Medina, who shot the Eagles’ second-lowest score of 79 during Monday’s opening round despite 30-35 mph winds, was struggling Tuesday to a final-round 90.

Enter freshman Cole Hermesmeyer, who missed this year’s first tournament in February while still rehabbing from a knee surgery from a football injury last fall. With the top four scores counting toward the team score, Cole spent much of the spring as Goldthwaite’s fifth player. His score had been used in just two of his first five tournaments.

Cole also struggled to a 91 during Monday’s opening round at state.

But golfing while wearing a knee brace and with the state title at stake, Cole calmly shot a final-round 77 — his first round under 80 in a high school tournament — and played a huge role in Goldthwaite pulling away from Vega over the final nine holes.

Goldthwaite shot 298 during the final round — its third sub-300 round this year — and finished with a 618 team score to win the school’s first state championship in golf. Vega finished second at 628, and Quanah was third at 657.

“That’s the way golf is,” Cole Hermesmeyer said of shooting 91 one day and 77 the next. “The course played harder Monday because the wind. I hit the ball a lot straighter Tuesday, and I stuck with the game plan a lot better.”

Cole’s 77 came despite two triple bogeys.

Drew Hermesmeyer, Cole’s older brother and a four-year state tournament veteran, said, “The difference between a good team and a great team is having five good golfers instead of two or three or even four. With five, there’s always someone there as a backup in case somebody has a bad day. That’s exactly what Cole did, and to do that in the final round of the state tournament is pretty special.”

Drew Hermesmeyer, a senior who has signed to play college golf at Incarnate Word in San Antonio, was his usually reliable self at state. He shot a final-round, 4-under-par 67 — the lowest round by any 2A golfer either day.

Medina posted a much-needed 79 on the first day when the wind forced a lot of scores into the 80s and 90s. Junior Rance House improved from 84 the first day to 73 in the final round. Freshman Jackson Patrick posted consisted rounds of 83 and 81.

But without Cole Hermesmeyer’s final-round 77, the Eagles might still be waiting on their first state championship in golf.

“Drew is obviously our ‘A’ golfer, but we don’t have a ‘B, C, D and E.’ They’re all capable of stepping up when we need them,” Goldthwaite coach Greg Proffitt said. “Cole had been close to shooting in the 70s several times this year. He’d just have a bad hole or two. To shoot his best round in the final round at state was pretty awesome.”

Despite playing at Roy Kizer four consecutive years at state, Drew Hermesmeyer had struggled on the links course with up-and-down levels and few trees to block the wind. Drew shot 74 the first day this year at state, which matched his best-ever round on the par-71, 6,819-yard course.

But in the final round with the state championship in the balance, Drew fired a 67.

“The last three years I never put myself in position after the first day to win,” Drew said. “This year I shot 74, but I was only four shots off the lead. I knew with the way I was playing that I was going to have a chance in the final round.

“I was very proud of the way I handled myself. My sophomore year, I couldn’t have hit the shots I hit this year. That (final-round 67) was the most focused I’ve been in a long time.”

The only disappointment for Drew during a consistent senior season was a missed 5-foot birdie putt on No. 18 during the final round at state that would have given him the medalist title as well. Instead, Drew finished 36 holes tied with Trevor Roquemore of Douglass at 141, 1-under par.

Roquemore, who won a playoff last year to finish second at state in the medalist standings, earned the medalist title this year over Drew by birdying the second playoff hole.

“When I played at state as a medalist my freshman and sophomore years, I never thought we would have an opportunity to take a team to state. But my ultimate goal was always to win a team championship, not an individual championship,” Drew said.