LAWTON — What a difference a day makes.
Down 16 strokes going into the final day, the Duncan golf team made its charge at the Lawton Country Club on Tuesday to close to within four strokes of the lead. In the end, though, the Demons’ deficit was too much to overcome, as they left Lawton with a runner-up trophy. Ardmore won its second straight Class 5A State Championship, by holding to its opening day lead.
“It wasn’t an insurmountable lead, but against a good team like Ardmore, it’s hard to overcome,” Duncan head coach Eddie Cox said. “I thought we played with passion and heart. We just came up a little short.”
Duncan shot a 288 in its final round, which was 11 and 12 strokes less than its first two rounds at the state tournament. The Demons finished the tournament with a three-round total of 887. Ardmore completed the event with a 883. Bixby came in third with a 905, while Chickasha was fourth with a 907.
“We were hoping to win first, but second isn’t that bad.” Duncan’s Tyler Rice said. “We’ll come back next year to win.”
Rice led the Demons in scoring with a 215 total. He struggled on the first day, but came out firing Tuesday. Rice shot the low round of the day with a 67 in the final round. He finished the state tournament in fifth place.
Rice said after the tournament that the scoring improvement came a day late, but that he felt good about the final round. The turnaround, according to Rice, was due to a late night practice round back at his home course after the Monday struggles.
“When I got back to Duncan yesterday, I went to the golf course and worked on my swing,” Rice said Tuesday after the final round. “I worked a lot of my problems out and played a lot better today. I wish I could have played the first day the way I did today.”
Derek Harman was also a medalist for the Demons. Harman shot a three-round total of 219, after shooting a 72 in the final round. He said he felt like his tournament could have gone smoother, but felt like it was a good experience. Harman, who is a sophomore, already has his junior campaign in mind.
“I think I could have played better,” Harman said. “I missed shots here and there, but overall it wasn’t that bad. We’ve all gotten a lot better, and we plan on winning next year.”
Duncan’s Jamie Gray finished with a medal around his neck as well. Gray came into the final round with a first-day total of 149, and was able to put together his best round of the tournament with a 72. He said that the fairways Monday gave him trouble because of the wet and muddy conditions, but that he felt like he played better in the final round. Gray, who is also a sophomore, will have two more cracks at the state tournament. Although he said he played better, he was still critiquing his game after the tournament results were posted.
“I just didn’t come with my ‘A’ game today,” Gray said. “I guess I had my ‘B’ game, but all I can do is come back next year and do my best.”
Jerrad Jones finished the tournament with a three-round total of 236. Jones had his best round of the tournament in the final round with a 77.
Duncan’s Tom Shaw posted a 237 at the state tournament. Shaw found himself finishing with a 79 on Tuesday, while he shot a 77 and 81 in the opening two rounds.
Next season is along way away, but the Demons were already thinking of the opportunity to improve as soon as the Ardmore Tigers hoisted the championship trophy. Duncan will host the tournament at The Territory.
“We have everybody back next year,” Cox said. “I told them that no matter the outcome, I was proud of their effort this year. Coming in second doesn’t diminish what we’ve done this year.”
In Class 2A, the Velma-Alma Comets placed fifth at the state tournament at Sugar Creek Canyon in Hinton. The Comets shot a three-round total of 981, while Oklahoma Christian took first place with a 941.
Individually, Ryan Miller picked up fourth with a state tournament tally of 224. Cash Wheeler shot 233, while Chaz Horton fired a 277. Trey Eason finished his tournament with a 266, while Kyle Palaco shot an 87 in the final day to finish with a 259.
At the Class 4A state tournament, Marlow’s Nathan Hamstead shot a 261 at Rose Creek Golf Club in Edmond.
LAWTON — What a difference a day makes.