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After enjoying sunny skies and warm temperatures on Wednesday, girls golfers at the Class 3A State Tournament were thrown a curveball by Mother Nature in the final round Thursday afternoon.
Competing at the Duncan Golf and Tennis Club, players were forced to overcome blustery winds, frigid temperatures and early morning rain during the event’s last 18 holes.
Comanche golfer Emilee White said that even after making the necessary adjustments, the change in conditions remained a challenge. After shooting an 84 round one and a 92 on the second day, White acknowledged that the weather played a role in her results.
“Normally on the fourth hole I would hit a seven iron, but today I used a nine and it still went over. You never know what to hit with,” White said. “With the wind, you’d have to go down at least two clubs and going into it you had to go up at least three. Sometimes a shot that would normally go 100 yards would end up going 130.”
The wind factor was something the Lady Indians discussed at their team meeting Wednesday night, and White planned ahead to combat it.
“I focused more on hitting the ball low in my pregame routine,” White said. “I also made sure to be aware of my putts knowing that they were going to roll a lot farther than normal.”
With some holes facing the wind and some with the wind behind them, the players strategy depended on where they were teeing off.
“On the first hole, the wind worked behind the ball and straightened it out, but then you have holes two and three where the road is out of bounds and the wind is against you, so you can lose momentum there,” Lady Indians coach Sean Hushbeck said. “Score wise, holes going into the wind would go from around a par four or par five to a par five or par six.”
Hushbeck said he even saw one competitor break her driver when a wind gust knocked down her golf bag, and continued to use it for the rest of the round.
Weather impacted the tournament from the start, as starting tee times were delayed an hour and a half because of rainy conditions.
Marlow coach Mike Eaves saw the conditions as a potential advantage for his players, Avery Walker and Alex Stephens.
“We’ve played in four or five tournaments this year where we’ve had windy and rainy conditions, so I think it’s something we’re used to,” Eaves said. “The seniors we have are pretty tough, they don’t mind the weather much, so I think it was an advantage.”
Both Comanche and Marlow had the benefit of being close to the tournament, as getting items like warmer clothes to the tournament was just a short drive away.
“We made sure they had enough to wear so that the cold factor would go away,” Eaves said. “The weather has been crazy for us all year, it was something we were prepared for.”