Expectations are only being matched by confidence for the Duncan golf team as it moves into the state tournament this week.

Duncan is coming into state after winning the conference and regional championship. Duncan’s team average is 294.6, and has been dipping lower in recent tournaments.

“Hopefully we’ll play the type of golf we’ve been playing,” Duncan head coach Eddie Cox said. “We’re playing with a lot of confidence going into the tournament. All of our players have been playing really good team golf.”

The Demons will start the tournament at 8:15 a.m. Monday at the Lawton Country Club. Duncan will play a round of 36 holes, followed by 18 on Tuesday to close out the tournament. Duncan is two-for-two this year at the Lawton Country Club in tournaments. The Demons’ coach said that the course will give the team a good opportunity to go for three-for-three and a state championship.

“It’s a course that has a tradition of good teams playing well at,” Cox said. “We’ve won both of our tournament there this year, so we’re going there with a lot of confidence about the course.”

Duncan is led in individual scoring by Tyler Rice. He is shooting 70.72 on the year, and is playing his best golf of the year as of late. Rice fired a 62 in his final round at Lakeview Golf Course in regionals, and will go in as one of the individual favorites to win the state championship. Rice has brought his scoring average down from 78.06 last season.

“He has played really well all year,” Cox said of Rice. “The round of 62 was really impressive, but he has played consistent all year.”

Derek Harman is second on the team when it comes to scoring average. Harman is shooting 73.44 on the year, and has a tournament championship at the Lawton Country Club earlier this year.

“This is a course that Derek won on earlier this season,” Cox said. “He has a lot of confidence at Lawton’s course and has been playing really well.”

Jamie Gray is just behind Harman in scoring average this year. Gray is shooting 74.22 going into the state tournament. He finished last year’s state tournament in 20th place, but Cox said that he expects him to be around the top of the leader board this year.

Jerrad Jones has improved from a 82.64 average last season, to being a consistent contributor this year with average rounds of 77.35. Tom Shaw has eliminated three shots off of his game as well, with rounds at 78. With their play improving, Cox believes that they give the Demons a great chance of winning.

“Our four and five having really stepped up for us,” Cox said. “They have both shot quality rounds in the recent tournament to help us in scoring. I think the key to winning at team golf is the four and five players. We have two really strong ones in those positions.”

As a team the Demons are going into the tournament without a weak link. Every player competed in the state tournament last season, and are going into state with the notion that they are the team to beat. The Demons finished fifth last year, with the Ardmore Tigers winning state. Still, this season is not the same as last year for the Demons. Duncan’s scoring which is now at 294.6, was at 318.25 at the end of last season.

Those numbers have Cox and the team feeling good going into play Monday.

“If we play the rounds we are capable of playing then we’ll win,” Cox said. “I think we are the favorites going into the tournament, but we’ll have to bring our ‘A’ game. Ardmore will be the strongest challenge again this year, but I think all the teams are thinking that they will have to play really well to beat us.”

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