By Raegan Stanley
Special to the Herald
AUSTIN – While the Salado Eagles may not have played their best rounds on Monday at the UIL state golf meet, they definitely didn't shoot themselves out of it either.
The Eagles are sitting in second place after shooting a 318 to defending champion Edgewood's 316 in the first round of play.
"We, along with Edgewood, have the highest number of players that returned, so you hope that helps," said coach Salado Bobby Peschel.
The Lady Eagles golf team is in seventh after the first day, with the opportunity to improve.
"They're going to have to play like they're capable of playing," Peschel said. "We could go 15 shots better if we do that."
Sonora is currently in third place in the boys division with a team total of 326. John Duke Hudson, of Sonora, had the low round of the day, shooting a 2-under- par 70 on the Roy Kizer Golf Course.
Ryan O'Rear, who won the individual title last year, shot a team-low 73 and trails Hudson and Jade Scott (72) from Daingerfield.
Jared Hahn shot an 81 to follow O'Rear with C.J. Little and Tyler Pines shooting a pair of 82's. Tom Baine rounded out the Eagles' day with an 88.
"I expected to play a little better," said Little of his round. "I started out scared because it was State and so I played everything safe. If I'm hitting the ball as well as I did today, tomorrow, I'll for sure try to go for some big shots."
Baine said his head wasn't in the game after he started off with a four-putt on the first hole.
"I never had any confidence after that first hole," said Baine. "I got through the first nine and was 1-under through the first four holes on the back. Then I went 8-over through the next four (holes). My head wasn't there. I started worrying about my score. I'll just have to take one hole at a time (on Tuesday) and find a way to hit the ball well on each hole."
For the Lady Eagles, Rachel VanHoozer led the way with a team-low 88 and Haley Kemp shot an 89. Taylor O'Rear fired a 94 and Brennan Boydstun a 108 to round out Salado's scoring. Teammate Hadley Joiner was unable to play because she became ill.
O'Rear, a freshman, hopes that her second round is drastically better than her first and that her nerves will be calmer in the second round.
"It was not what I was expecting," said O'Rear. "I was not expecting to get announced on the first tee and I wasn't expecting there to be a huge gallery at the finishing hole. It was a lot bigger than regionals.
"It's good to get the experience for next year."
UIL State Golf first day results – Lisa McCloskey of Montgomery shot a 4-under 68 Monday to take the opening round lead in the girls' Class 4A state championship at Jimmy Clay Golf Course. Dallas Highland Park's Cody Gribble led the boys' tournament with a 2-under 70.
In Class 1A, Gabriella Dominguez of Chilton was at 2-under 70 to lead the girls at Morris Williams Golf Course. Logan Philley of Robert Lee and Cameron Swarb of White Deer both shot 74 to share the lead in the boys' tournament.
In Class 2A Shelby Hardy of San Saba was at 1-under to lead the girls