OKLAHOMA CITY — Tigers and Timberwolves got their final chance at a tournament tune up before regionals on Monday, competing in the Mid-State conference meet.
Norman High and Norman North competed at Trosper Golf Club in difficult conditions, with gusty winds and difficult greens slowing down almost everyone in the field. That is, everyone except North’s Thomas Johnson, who shot a 143 through two rounds to win the tournament by virtue of holding the scorecard tiebreaker over Edmond Memorial’s Trent Evans.
“I was able to strike the ball well today, even though I didn’t putt very well,” Johnson said. “Winning is always the goal, and it feels good.”
Behind Johnson’s performance, the T-Wolves finished third at the tournament with a team final of 609, while the Tigers placed fifth with a score of 642. Johnson led North, but the T-Wolves also put up solid performances around him, particularly in the second round. Thomas Ludwig shot a 80-72-152 to join Johnson and NHS’ Turner Howe on the all-conference team.
“They hit the ball really well from tee to green,” coach Dennis Etter said. “But we didn’t putt as well as we should have. With the weather we’ve had, the greens were very tough. But overall I was pleased with what we did and what we’ve got going into next week.”
If the T-Wolves can improve in the areas they plan to focus on this week, namely putting and adjusting for the win, they represent a serious threat at the state tournament.
“Most of our tournaments have been really windy or wet, and we haven’t really been able to get into a rhythm,” Ludwig said. “So we’ve got to work on the wind game by spending some more time out on the range when it’s windy.”
While NHS didn’t compete for the top spot on Monday, the tournament still yielded success for the Tigers, who shot their way to a season-best team score of 315 in the second round.
“That’s very good for us,” coach Bruce Renfroe said of his team, which starts four sophomores. “For as young as we are, they settled down in that second round and played some good golf.”
One of those sophomores, Howe, led the Tigers by shooting a 72-77-149, strong enough to finish sixth at the tournament.
As the Tigers try to make it back to the state tournament with a young core, Monday’s accomplishment was a major step in the right direction.
“We got beat today by Moore and Southmoore, and we’ll have to beat one of those guys to make it back to state,” Renfroe said. “But this builds some momentum for us going into regionals, and it’s good for their confidence.”
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