By BEN JOHNSON
PARK HILL — First it was Seth Fritts in wrestling. The Keys freshman was the first Cougar wrestler in school history to qualify for the state tournament.
Now the boys golf team is basking in the glow of the same feat this season. The Cougars recently finished sixth at the Class 3A regional tournament at Scissortail Golf Course and were the first boys golf team to punch its ticket to the state tournament.
“As a team,” Keys golfer Kris Beres said, “we were all very pumped. It was the best feeling I could ever think of.”
Chiming in on the accomplishment, Keys coach Todd Phillips said, “Unbelievably excited to see our school name in the top six.”
The Cougars will be one of 12 clubs vying for the Class 3A championship at the Duncan Golf and Tennis Club. That was also the same site for the recently-concluded 3A girls state tournament.
“Coach Keith Hunt (the girls coach) just returned and gave us a good scouting report, everything from the speed of the greens, to the hazards to length of play,” Phillips said. “The practice rounds hopefully will help us get the jitters out and play with confidence on Monday.”
The 54-hole event will begin Monday and carry on through Tuesday. Keys’ golfers are slated to tee off between 9 and 9:50 a.m. on Monday.
The Cougars enter the final tournament of the season after having finished with a 36-hole total of 728 at the regional tournament. Keys was able to extended its season but it was also 102 strokes off the winning pace set by Idabel.
Nevertheless, Keys will be a confident bunch at the state tournament.
“Our approach is to go give it all we’ve got and keep our heads up,” Keys’ Alex Thompson said. “And play with confidence.”
Phillips is convinced that Keys can shave strokes off its game.
“We want to be reducing our strokes on each hole,” Phillips said. “Each shot — off the tee, chipping, putting — is important. We feel we can take five strokes off per player.”
Likely setting the pace for the Cougars will be Shea Heble, Keys’ No. 1 bag.
“We work as a team,” Heble said. “Everything we’ve accomplished this year was a a team.”
“It’s really a team concept,” he said. “Shea is our No. 1 guy, but each of the others have had big days this season.”
State tournament tee times
Class 3A (Duncan Golf and Tennis Club)
Hole No. 1
8 a.m.: Alek Cunningham (Bethel), Brody Mayberry (Berryhill), Zac Harber (Hugo).
8:10: Bryce Newton (Lone Grove), Brian Dick (Bethel), Nick Williams (Berryhill), Tyler Miller (Lindsay).
8:20 to 9: Nos. 1 through 5 bags (Idabel, Marlow, Eufaula).
9:10 to 9:50: Nos. 1 through 5 bags (Pauls Valley, Inola, Comanche).
Hole No. 10
8 a.m.: Dakota Green (Purcell), Kyle Butler (Sequoyah), Ian Nelson (Valliant).
8:10: Rylan Bunch (Sequoyah), Payte Owen (Purcell), Clayton Kinsey (Mount Saint Mary).
8:20 to 9: Nos. 1 through 5 bags (Plainview, Stigler, Tishoingo).
9:10 to 9:50: Nos. 1 through 5 bags (Oklahoma Christian, Sulphur, Keys).
Class 5A (Tulsa Country Club)
Hole No. 1
8 a.m.: Eric Moore (Memorial), Colton Cowan (Piedmont), Brandon Mullins (Durant).
8:10: Cody Burrows (Chickasha), Trey Hunt (Durant), Cameron Cowan (Piedmont).
8:20: Zane McElroy (Collinsville), Taylor Knox (Durant), Michael Nichols (Ardmore), Jericho Stratton (Skiatook).
8:30 to 9:10: Nos. 1 through 5 bags (Bishop Kelley, Duncan, Edison).
9:20 to 10: Nos. 1 through 5 bags (Bishop McGuinness, Claremore, Carl Albert).
Hole No. 10
8 a.m.: Trent Meisel (Lawton MacArthur), Wyatt Bartels (Guthrie), Dexter Brown (McAlester).
8:10: Zac Baumert (Pryor), Brayden Berryman (Guthrie), Stacey Cornelious (Lawton MacArthur).
8:30 to 9:10: Nos. 1 though 5 bags (Deer Creek, Tahlequah, El Reno).
9:20 to 10: Nos. 1 through 5 bags (Shawnee, Altus, Grove).