GEORGETOWN — Belton sophomore Dallas Hankamer always will be able to reminisce and think about when he earned a bronze medal as a sophomore in the UIL Boys Golf State Championships.
Of course, his memories probably always will produce both positive and negative feelings — a proud achievement, on one hand; on the other, a frustrating sense of what might have been.
After Hankamer shot a 3-under 69 on Monday to share the first-round lead in the Class 6A tournament at Legacy Hills Golf Club, it turned out that another 69 in Tuesday’s final round would have won the outright individual championship and a 70 would have gotten him into a playoff for the title.
Hankamer struck the ball beautifully from tee to green, but a difficult putting day made him settle for a 71 and a 4-under 140 total, tied for third place with Nico Nebout of League City Clear Springs.
Hankamer and Nebout finished one stroke behind Austin Westlake’s Thomas Bockholt and Trophy Club Byron Nelson’s David Harrison, who posted 139 totals before Bockholt prevailed on the first playoff hole by making a 10-foot birdie putt.
Wearing the bronze medal around his neck after being applauded by the large crowd following his stellar state debut, Hankamer thoughtfully discussed his conflicting emotions.
“I definitely had a good tournament, but I’m pretty frustrated right now with all the chances I had and how good I was hitting it today,” said Hankamer, one of four players to break par both days. “I’ll definitely remember this, and hopefully I come back stronger.”
Belton coach Jim Hellums expects Hankamer’s state experience to help him immensely in the future.
“He’s a pretty special sophomore,” Hellums said. “He threw everything he could at it on the back nine.”
Dallas became the third Hankamer brother to earn a state golf medal. Dane won the 2A individual title in 2013, a year before he and Dalton led Salado to the 2A crown.
Whereas Hankamer endured inconsistent ball-striking Monday but used an outstanding short game to conjure up numerous up-and-down saves, his final round essentially was the opposite. He hit the ball much better overall but three-putted No. 1 for bogey and three-putted the par-5 seventh after having a 25-foot eagle opportunity.
He also didn’t convert birdie putts from 10 feet or closer on Nos. 8, 10, 13, 15, and his vital 18-foot birdie bid on No. 17 caught the edge but didn’t fall.
“A frustrating round. When you’re hitting it that good and you know you can be about 6 or 7 under but you come in only shooting 1 under, it gets pretty frustrating. But I’m glad I kept it together,” said Hankamer, who made four birdies and beat his playing partners by four strokes each. “I really hit only two bad putts, the two 2½- or 3-footers on 1 and 7. I was basically hitting my lines all day but just skimming lips.”
Hellums echoed his player’s thoughts.
“Yesterday, Dallas hit the ball at 70 to 80 percent capability but he scrambled and putted really well,” he said. “Today, he hit the ball probably at 90-plus percent but burned the edges on so many putts and had a couple three-putts, which is so uncharacteristic.”
Westlake’s No. 1 squad repeated as state champion, shooting a blistering 12-under 276 for an 11-under 565 total that bested Austin Vandegrift by 20. Westlake’s No. 2 team (598) placed third.
A 3-hour rain delay pushed Hankamer’s start from 9 a.m. to noon. On a sunny, humid afternoon, he gained motivation from his large, vocal gallery that included family, Belton coaches and more than a dozen fellow student-athletes.
The par-5, 562-yard seventh hole typified Hankamer’s round. He striped his long approach to create a 25-foot eagle opportunity but left that putt 2½ feet short, then stunningly missed the birdie putt en route to an even-par front nine. He again missed the par-3 16th green long and left, but unlike Monday, he couldn’t scramble for par.
With Harrison finished at 5 under, Hankamer needed eagle at the par-5 18th to potentially join a first-place playoff, but his third-shot wedge from 25 yards stopped 6 feet short. He then buried his birdie putt to secure a state medal, perhaps an omen of future success.
6A FINAL LEADERBOARD
- x-1. Bockholt, Austin Westlake I 139
- 2. Harrison, Northwest Nelson 139
- T3. Hankamer, Belton 140
- T3. Nebout, Clear Springs 140
- T5. Sosa, Austin Westlake I 141
- T5. Keefer, SA Johnson 141
- T7. Petronzio, Lake Travis 142
- T7. Denton, Austin Westlake I 142
- T9. Humphries, Austin Westlake I 143
- T9. Martin, SA Johnson 143
- 11. Hamilton, Humble Kingwood 144