Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

May 13, 2014

Tigers in front at 5A state tournament

FORT SILL — Tahlequah’s golfers headed west on Sunday, hoping to find the Class 5A state tournament was on a course that suited their games. Sure enough, it does.

After a practice round to close out the weekend, Tahlequah opened play in the tournament with a 300 on the first 18 holes and a 303 on the second 18 to take control and claim a spot atop the team leaderboard at the end of the day on Monday at Fort Sill Golf Course.

“The guys, they like the course,” Tahlequah coach Nick Baker said by phone from southwest Oklahoma at the conclusion of the first day of the tournament. “There’s nothing tricky about it. It’s kind of like the green speed at home (at Cherokee Springs Golf Course).”

The Tigers’ 603 through 36 holes was enough for a six-stroke lead with the final 18 holes to be played on Tuesday morning. Bishop Kelley (617), Edison (626) and Deer Creek (629) rounded out the top five.

Tahlequah’s Jake Johnson shot a 70 and a 71 to collect a total of 141. He leads Lawton MacArthur’s Trent Meisel (143, 71-72) by two strokes heading into the final round.

Hunter Pennington (152, 73-79), Blake Berry (150, 74-76), Blake Cochran (162, 85-77) and Kyler Arnall (166, 83-83) rounded out the rest of the first-day scores for the Tigers.

“The guys played well,” Baker said. “They were patient all day long. They had some ups and downs, but they stayed patient.”

Much like the rest of the 2014 season, Tahlequah had to battle some unpleasant elements early on.

“The first 18 holes the weather was a lot worse. We had some rain and wind and it was colder,” Baker said. “But for the second 18, the wind died down and the course played a little easier.”

As for searching for Tahlequah’s first-ever golf championship, Baker said the formula is simple.

“If we go out tomorrow and play like we did today,” he said, “we have a good chance of finishing this thing off.”

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