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May 14, 2014

Huddleston’s 76 helps secure 5th

ARDMORE — Marlow boys golf stayed in the same spot in the state tournament standings and for coach Stephen Thomas, that shows progress.

Entering this season with no seniors on the roster, Thomas was hoping to have a good showing in the postseason to keep the momentum alive from last year’s fifth-place finish.

Those dreams took a hit when the Outlaws finished fifth in the regional tournament, enough to qualify, but not promising entering state at Lakeview Golf Club in Ardmore.

“We were hoping not to move backwards,” Thomas said. “Not having any seniors and doing that was a pretty good accomplishment.”

Junior Dakota Hicks led the team, finishing 12th with a 79, 78, 77 for an overall 234. It was one stroke outside the top 10, Hicks’ goal coming into the season, but showed bright signs for the future.

“I got a stroke better every round, so that’s something I can take,” Hicks said. “Honestly, it wasn’t even as close to as good as I could have played, considering how well I hit the ball. I just have to work on putting.”

While Hicks had the best tournament, sophomore Easton Huddleston came up big on the final day to have the best round for the Outlaws. His 76 kept Marlow affixed in the fifth-place spot, eight strokes better than Idabel.

It was the first time this season that Huddleston had broken 80 and was a special way to end his year after shooting 85 and 89 the first two rounds.

“That was huge for him,” Thomas said. “He’s always been really steady, but he’s been kind of down this year. This is the best he’s ever played. Ending on a high is great for next year.”

It was the team’s youth that had Hicks talking about winning the title next year outside the Lakeview clubhouse. Marlow returns everybody from its state tournament lineup, Hicks, Huddleston, junior Tyler Curtis, sophomore Brayden King and sophomore Jackson White.

While Thomas said that goal might be a little high for the team to reach next season, he thinks there is a lot of potential in this group.

“I’d be looking at improving on fifth again next year,” Thomas said. “If we win it, that would be a heck of an accomplishment, but I want (Hicks) or Tyler or both of them all state. That’s seniors only and that would be the goal next year is to have some all-staters again.”

Marlow finished with a 978, 14 strokes back from Tishomingo for fourth place. Host Plainview won the competition with a 907.

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