As the top golfer in his region, Huntsville junior Chandler Phillips knows he could have played better this week at the UIL State Golf Tournament.
Phillips had a rough couple of days with his short game and finished tied for ninth with a total score of 150. He shot a 77 on Monday and improved with Tuesday’s score of 73. It still wasn’t enough for a player with heightened expectations after winning all but one tournament this season before going to state, including his third straight Class 4A Region III gold medal.
“My putting was absolutely terrible,” Phillips said. “It really was a joke. I was just making bad strokes. There wasn’t anything right with my putting. It was just bad.”
While critical of himself, Phillips was short on excuses. He had played the University of Texas Golf Club before, but never with the greens moving as slow as it seemed on Tuesday.
“That shouldn’t have anything to do with it,” Phillips said. “A 3-foot putt, slow or fast, I shouldn’t miss it. Every putt I was getting over, it was a guess if I was going to hit it on-line. It was just a bad two days of putting.”
Phillips was 2-under par at the 13th hole when he missed a short par putt that raised his score as he moved toward the more difficult areas of the golf course.
The end of the final round was also difficult for Phillips, as he bogeyed the last two holes to finish 2-over par for the day.
“For the most part, he was fine from tee to green, hitting almost everything in regulation,” Huntsville coach Marcus Evans said. “He did miss a lot of short putts these last couple of days. I don’t think there’s any question it was putting that bothered him and it’s a part of his game he usually doesn’t have to worry about.
“He works hard. I think he’s just been a little inconsistent. His putting has been coming and going, good days and bad days. Putting is such a feel and finesse part of the game that if you’re not absolutely confident in it and once you start to miss, then that self-doubt creeps in and that hole looks awfully small. The hole is just looking small to Chandler on the greens right now and he’ll take care of that.”
Phillips said he is likely to spend the next two weeks without so much as even hitting a ball aside from working on his putting.
“I’m serious about that,” he said. “I’m going to make sure everything is right. I thought I was prepared for this tournament this year but I obviously have to be better. All tournaments are won with putting. If you ain’t putting, you ain’t going to win tournaments.”
Dallas Highland Park’s Scottie Scheffler won his fourth straight state championship, this time with a combined score of 138, six strokes better than silver medalist William Martinez of Austin Vandegrift. Scheffler will play for the Longhorns next season.