By Raegan Stanley
Killeen Daily Herald
AUSTIN – According to Reed O'Rear, his older brother Ryan gave him the best birthday present ever – a state championship on the Morris Williams Golf Course on Tuesday.
Ryan took the individual Class 2A title after shooting 70-72–142, winning by two strokes, and also led the Salado Eagles to a second-place team medal. Callisburg came in third, just one stroke behind Salado. Edgewood claimed the state championship title for the second consecutive year.
The Salado girls, the defending state champs, placed a disappointing sixth.
"I don't really know what to think," said Ryan of his win.
"He's going to Disney World," said teammate Tom Baine, laughing.
"He's a great player and he teaches me to get better," said brother Reed, who turned 12 on Tuesday.
As a bonus, Ryan also gave his younger brother the golf ball with which he won.
O'Rear led the tournament by one stroke after Monday's play, with two players just one stroke back.
"It was tough not knowing what scores came in before me," O'Rear said of his thoughts on his final round.
A birdie on No. 2 put O'Rear one-under but a bogey on 4 put him back at even for the front nine. An additional birdie on the back gave O'Rear another shot at coming in under par but a bogey on 16 landed him at even, where he remained for the rest of the round.
"Being successful is doing whatever it takes to get there," said coach Bobby Peschel of his team's medals, "and it's not always about everybody having a great day.
"That's such an individual thing. Ryan will be out on the golf course tomorrow. For him, it's not like, OK, this is the end of a season, I can put up my golf clubs and rest; it's not going to happen, that's not the way he functions. His function is, tomorrow I'm going to go out and I'm going to get better than I was today, and that's the difference in a player that's just never satisfied. You always want as many of those type around you as you can find. Those are a lot harder to deal with but also a lot harder to deal with when they're not as successful because they've tried so hard to get where they are."
Helping O'Rear capture the silver medal were teammates Jared Hahn (79-80–159), Clint Permenter (82-84–166), Baine (84-87–171) and Tyler Pines (86-81–167).
In front of a growing crowd, Baine chipped in from the left side of the No. 18 green to birdie out.
"That definitely made up for a bad round," Baine said. "That was my only birdie. I missed a birdie putt on 11 and then had a quad (bogey) on 14 and a double (bogey) on 17."
Beside O'Rear, the only Eagle satisfied with his performance was Pines, who dropped five strokes off his first-round score. Pines birdied the par-3 No. 12 after putting the ball about 7 feet out with his 6-iron.
It was Pines' first year to compete at the state level and he has every intention of returning with the team in 2008.
The Eagles will return all but one golfer. Permenter will be graduating at the end of the month and will be attending Texas A&M to study medical sciences. He hopes to become a surgeon.
The other four members of the team are sophomores.
"Next year we should have a real strong team. We'll be back," said Hahn.
The other golfers agreed.
"We didn't want to use it as an excuse to not win this year," Baine said, "but knowing that we do have four sophomores coming back, it's promising for the future."
Peschel is pleased that he will have a strong team returning for at least two years.
"I'm really excited because they have to put up with me for a few more years," laughed Peschel. "The fact that they're leaving here with a silver medal, I think that means a lot to them as far as how they think about what they need to do to get better prepared to have something more of a goal for next year, something more than a silver."
Peschel will also have three Lady Eagles returning next season. A graduating Katie Harris (90-89–179) will be attending Texas State in San Marcos to study bilingual education and Japanese. Harris and teammate Sarah Dowell (85-87–172) were the only two returnees from the 2006 championship team.
"I'm leaving behind a lot," said a disappointed Harris. "I'm leaving behind freshmen, I'm leaving behind Sarah, who is really hard to part with. I'm really sad to leave Coach. He's like a second father, he's always been there. I really think he's the best golf coach I've ever been around.
"I did win at regionals and even though I'm disappointed with how I ended my high school golf career, I'm taking a lot of good memories with me."
Wall took first place in the girls team division with a two-day team total of 659. The Lady Eagles came in sixth at 791. Individual medals went to Kelsey Kirkpatrick of Alba-Golden (74-71–145), Shelby Hardy of San Saba (75-72–147) and Kyla Whittley of Wall (76-76–152).
"You come down here and you're playing the eight best teams in the state and you at least hope they have a shot at a medal, and we weren't going to have that opportunity and that really bothered me, it really did," Peschel said. "It hit me hard, more today than it did yesterday, that our girls weren't going to have a chance at a medal.
"There's something about your kids, that when they line up with the best in the state, you want them to have a chance."
Dowell was on course for a second-day score of 85 before an undue delay penalty added two strokes to her scorecard. Dowell sent a representative, as is allowed by USGA rules, to retrieve a misplaced club from a previously played green. It was later determined that the retrieval took longer than allowed. Past the penalty strokes, Dowell had a solid round.
"I played really good," said Dowell. "My irons were solid. My putting was awful. If I would have made some putts I would have shot in the 70s. I could see it in my management on the course, I had a putt for birdie, some putts for par.
"I plan on coming back (next year) and shooting even par."
Freshman Haley Kemp (94-96–190) and sophomore Stephanie Hoernis (127-123–250) completed the Lady Eagles scoring.
Callisburg (710) came in second in the girls team competiton and Edna finished third with a 713.
Contact Raegan Stanley at email@example.com or call (254) 501-7564.