AUSTIN — Third place never tasted so sour.
After posting a second-round score low enough to ensure a runner-up finish at the Class 3A state golf tournament, Gatesville received a stiff punch in the gut when Lauren Davis was called for a rule violation as her scorecard was being totaled.
As a result, the senior’s round was disqualified causing the Hornets’ hearts to drop as they fell to third place in the final standings.
“It’s a great accomplishment,” Gatesville head coach Guy Dean said of the team’s finish. “Hopefully, tomorrow or one day in the future, they will look back and feel good about it. Right now, it is just a bitter pill to swallow. It’s too close to something negative.”
Following a solid opening-round to enter the second day in a tie for fourth place individually, Davis ran into trouble on hole No. 6, hitting the ball into a water hazard on three separate occasions. Knowing the worst score allowed to card is a nine, Davis picked up her ball after the third drop and recorded a nine.
According to UIL rules, however, because she did not hit the ball to actually produce a ninth shot, she was disqualified.
“I should have hit that last shot, but I didn’t really think about it,” Davis said. “I was just trying to get through the hole because that was my only bad hole. I was only 1-over walking into that hole.
“I thought I could just go ahead and pick it up. Nobody said anything about it while I was over there, so I just picked it up and went to the next hole, and when we got (to the scorers table), they called me on it.”
With Davis’ second round eliminated from the total, Gatesville finished with a total score of 698 — one stroke behind second-place Snyder. Andrews posted a 652 to earn a third consecutive state championship, and Melissa (780) was a distant fourth.
Katy Colson feels certain Gatesville was the runner-up in the tournament, though.
“This is definitely a second-place finish,” the senior said. “Yes, we are wearing a third-place medal, but it is a second-place finish.”
Kristen Smithhart, who shot a 85 in the first round, finished in a two-way tie for eight place overall and led the Hornets by posting a second-round 84 to end the tournament with a team-low 169, while teammates Chelsy Tobin (88-85) and Colson (86-90) shot 173 and 176, respectively. Davis’ score was replaced with Malorie Summers’ two-day total of 191 (95-96).
While the final result left the Hornets disappointed, Dean knows his team accomplished a lot this season by finishing third at state for a second consecutive year.
“The kids played hard, they worked really hard to get here,” Dean said. “You wish they had a better outcome.”
Hornets finish seventh
Gatesville’s boys team struggled to find its rhythm all day, and the missed strokes dropped the Hornets several spots in the final standings.
After entering the day in fifth place with a team score of 334, the Hornets could not deliver any consistency in their second round, finishing with a second-round 338 to place seventh overall.
“They just couldn’t get anything rolling,” Dean said. “When they finally started making some pars, they give one back. They just couldn’t get on a streak there at the end to try to compete for that third-place spot.”
Andrews (631) edged out Argyle (632) by one stroke to win the state title, while Gatesville posted a 672 to finish among a throng of teams. Fredericksburg and Big Spring each shot 656 to tie for third place, while Decatur (662), Longview Spring Hill (671) and Gatesville finished within 10 strokes of each other.
Zane Washburn, whose opening-round 77 put him in a four-way tie for second, shot an 87 to post a two-day total of 164. Teammate Bryce Cole’s 166 (84-82) was two strokes back of Washburn, while Brantley Cole (84-88) and Ryan Phillips (91-83) posted rounds of 172 and 174, respectively. Hunter Dean (89-86) shot a 175.
Lampasas junior takes seventh
In her third trip to state in as many tries, Lampasas junior Morgan Rogers posted a 168 to finish seventh individually.
Despite her top-10 finish, Rogers had bittersweet emotions regarding the tournament.
“I’m not very happy about what I shot today and how I played,” she said. “But then again, being at state is very nice. I feel very lucky.”
Rogers followed up her opening-round 85 with an 83.
Contact Clay Whittington at email@example.com