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May 2, 2013

Hartog won’t let round get her down

EDMOND — Not until Wednesday of last week had I even heard of Tess Hartog. Not until last Thursday morning’s Transcript had I ever put her name in a story. And still, she’s my new favorite golfer.

Part of it is always looking forward to the next terrific high school golfer in this town.

Gender may be a part of it, too, because I’m pretty sure I can count all the really good young women golfers to come through this town the last 15 years on one finger and that was Kaitlin Higginbotham, who began at CCS before heading to Norman North before heading to Redlands Community College on the way to Coastal Carolina where she finished up last year as a two-time All-Big South performer.

But Hartog shot 71 at last week’s regional tournament at Westwood Park, knocking three strokes off the previous best round of her life, and she’s only a sophomore and won’t be 16 until the summer and just seemed to have everything going her way as she teed off Wednesday morning at the Class 6A state tournament at River Oaks Golf Club.

Of course, the game kicked her in the gut. That’s what the game does.

Hartog began with eight straight bogeys on the way to an 86. Her scorecard was all pars and bogeys until the 16th, when a club fell out of hand and struck the ball. That led to a double-bogey 6 before she regained her composure and closed with two pars.

Hartog turned her scorecard in and was asked if she’d answer a few questions. She said she would and then, like the weight of her round hit her all at once, had to exit to get herself together before returning to be grilled.

“I just hit bad shots. I don’t know what the actual problem was. I just couldn’t hit greens,” she said. “My drives were good but it was always the second shots, and I couldn’t make putts.”

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