COLLEGE STATION —
With a four-shot lead in his back pocket, all Chandler Phillips had to do was put together another solid round and he’d win another tournament title.
He did just that and posted the low round for a second straight day in blustery conditions to win the individual medalist championship at the District 18-4A golf tournament on Tuesday.
“I shot a 77 today and it shouldn’t have been a 77,” Phillips said. “I had three-putts on holes that shouldn’t have been three-putts. I made other mistakes. I’m not happy with that.”
Phillips’ victory helped to salvage a disappointing day at Pebble Creek Country Club for the Hornets, who finished only two strokes shy of second place and just short of earning a spot at next week’s regional tournament.
“There’s no reason we shouldn’t be advancing,” said senior Chase Bacon. “We have the talent. The coaches prepared us. We shot ourselves in the foot yesterday and that’s what happens.”
As soon as the day began, the Huntsville boys were battling constantly changing wind conditions and a difficult course.
“The wind was a tremendous factor in a couple of ways,” Huntsville golf coach Marcus Evans said. “It wasn’t the usual wind here. Every hole played virtually dead opposite than when we played here before. You add into the fact that it really howled here today, it was really a brutal stretch of holes where you’re going against the wind over and over again.
“Even when the wind was at our backs, it wasn’t that much of an advantage because it was hard to leave the ball short of the hole. It affected putting all day long, too. It was a very hard golf course today.”
For most of the final round, Phillips was taming the course. Following a birdie on the fifth hole, the Hornets junior was under par.
It wasn’t until the back nine that the wind began to get the best of him.
The wind gusts created all sorts of havoc, ranging from causing him to not choose the proper club or the ball cruising on the green.
“I had some mistakes with club selection,” Phillips said. “I wasn’t playing the wind enough. It was just some stupid mistakes. I won’t make those mistakes again.”
Phillips ended up with a 5-over-par 77. Coupled with his first-round 71, he ended up with a two-day total of 148. While the rest of the teams were finishing up, Phillips didn’t know how he stood in the medalist title picture nor if he did enough to advance to the regional tournament.
It turned out that Phillips wasn’t the only one who struggled Tuesday and he ended up winning the individual medalist championship by seven strokes.
Montgomery Gold’s Ethan Edsall shot 77-78 — 155 to finish as the runner-up. Cameron Holzshu of Montgomery Purple took third with a 75-81 — 156. Magnolia’s Jacob Greathouse was fourth with a 77-80 — 157 and defending district champion Jonathan Vasquez of Bryan Rudder was fifth with a 79-80 — 159.
Needing to erase an 18-shot deficit in order to have a chance at getting one of the district’s two regional tournament spots, the Hornets had a rough time trying to mount a comeback.
“I’m proud of the fact that we shot virtually the same thing today that we shot yesterday,” Evans said. “The course, as far as the team was concerned, was 20 shots harder today than it was yesterday. Really, the guys fought today and made every attempt they could to come back. It was just a very tough golf course today.”
Bacon and Rex Herklotz each turned in 82s, while Chris Gardner fired an 88 and Jackson Hunter had a 91.
That gave Huntsville a second-round score of 330 and the Hornets finished with a two-round total of 658.
Convinced that they didn’t do near enough to overcome the 18-shot hole, the Huntsville boys underestimated how rough the course and conditions were on the rest of the field.
The Hornets actually had the best round of the day.
Magnolia I, which began the day in second place after a first-round 310, struggled and shot a 346.
That was just enough to keep Huntsville from advancing.
“It doesn’t make it more disappointing that we just missed it,” Evans said. “I would much rather lose by two than 18 or 20 shots. We made up a lot of ground. Us not moving on is the result of not playing as well yesterday.
“We did a good job of fighting the conditions.”
Huntsville II finished tied for eighth. Derek Danford finished with an 80-89 — 169. Thomas Hamrick had an 83-95 — 178. Stephen Langlais shot a 96-87 — 183. Ross Rozell fired a 105-97 — 202 and Cody Ferguson had a 102-103 — 205.
Phillips will play in the Region III tournament at River Ridge Golf Club in Sealy on April 15 and 16.
District 18-4A Tournament
Pebble Creek Country Club, College Station
1. Montgomery Purple 642
2. Magnolia I 656
3. Huntsville I 658
4. Montgomery Gold 674
5. Brenham 676
6. Magnolia II 713
7. Willis I 725
t8. Huntsville II 731
t8. Bryan Rudder 731
10. Magnolia West 744
Individual medalist standings
1. C. Phillips (Huntsville I) 148
2. E. Edsall (Mont. Gold) 155
3. C. Holzshu (Mont. Purple) 156
4. J. Greathouse (Magnolia I) 157
5. J. Vasquez (Bryan Rudder) 159