Rogersville golf came into the second day of the state golf tournament with a tough hill to climb. The Wildcats sat in fourth place six strokes back of the leader.
“We just knew that we left a lot of strokes on the course Day One. We felt like if we came in and took it one shot and one hole at a time and every one kept their head, then we were going to be fine,” Rogersville head coach Keith Spaulding said.
Keeping their head is an understatement for what Rogersville did. The Wildcats posted a team score of 305 on a day when the next-best team score was 315. That led to Rogersville winning its first golf title in school history with a two-day total of 614 strokes to win by a comfortable eight strokes
One thing the Wildcats did have going for them was windy weather.
“I think the wind kind of helped us have a better opportunity to come from behind,” Spaulding said. “I think all along we realized we didn’t play as well as we could have on day one, so we came out a little more focused and ready to play.”
One of those players who stepped up on Day 2 was senior Jacob Hefley. Hefley posted a 79 in the opening round to sit tied for 35th place. He was able to wipe that out of his head and post a Day 2 total of 74, which was tied for the second-best round of the day.
“This is his third trip to the state tournament. The experience is something you can’t replace. That definitely helped him,” Spaulding said.
Hefley finished tied for 13th overall.
Fellow senior Drew Ritter was right with him posting a matching two-day total of 153 to also finish all-state tied in 13th place.
“Drew has been a workhorse for us for the last two years. He just grinds and grinds and grinds. He just has the mindset and work ethic. He is a great kid who wants his team to be successful and he is not going to give up no matter what the situation is,” Spaulding said.
James Hutchinson and Jackson VonBehren both posted totals of 154 strokes to finish tied for 17th just one stroke behind Ritter and Hefley, giving the Wildcats a formidable top four.
The win marks Rogersville’s third team state title in school history. Head coach Keith Spaulding has had a hand in each and every one. He played on the 1982 state championship basketball team. He was an assistant coach on the 2011 championship football team. Finally he was the head coach of this year’s golf team.
Cassville’s Garner takes individual honors
Consistency was the key in the individual standings with Cassville junior Dylan Garner who posted a 72 on Day One and a 74 on Day 2 to win the Class 3 Individual State Title.
“I owe my score to my short game. It was outstanding today and yesterday. My putter was pretty hot. I got all my chips close to the hole and was able to make quite a few pars,” Garner said.
He finished up his first round three strokes back and came into Tuesday’s deciding round with confidence.
“I told my mom last night when we were in the hotel that I was going to go out and give it everything I had to try and win. I felt like I had a shot. I was three shots behind with a full day of golf to play,” Garner said.
The prospect of winning a title became a reality for Garner around the turn.
“About No. 8, my opponent that I knew was in the first day lead made double (bogey) and I made and I gained back two shots on him right there. That is about the time I realized I had a chance at it,” Garner said.
Now he can turn to his senior year where he will be the hunted each time he steps on the course.
“It feels pretty good. It takes a load off of my shoulders knowing that I have one under my belt, and going into senior year I know what I really have to do,” Garner said.
Monett’s Clayton Kaiser also posted a Top 20 finish with a 153 total to finish tied for 13th.