Huntsville golf coach Marcus Evans didn’t have too much to complain about after the first round of the District 18-4A tournament Monday afternoon at Pebble Creek Country Club.
The Hornets’ No. 1 team fired a team score of 314 and stand in second place, nine strokes behind Montgomery’s No. 1 team and five shots ahead of Montgomery II. Magnolia I is in fourth place with a 327, followed by Magnolia West at 332.
With one more round to play today, Huntsville stands in the thick of things and is in contention to return to the Region III tournament. The top two teams advance to regionals, which are scheduled April 22-23 at Huntsville’s Raven Nest Golf Club.
“It was an OK round. It certainly wasn’t bad,” Evans said. “This is a tough course to play and we had mistakes here and there.”
Senior Brent Baker was the low scorer for the Hornets with a 75. Fellow seniors Tyler Belovsky and Ryan Bennett followed suit with scores of 78 and 81, respectively. Freshman Cory Sammons fired and 80, while his brother junior Cody Sammons, shot an 84.
After shooting 5-over-par 41 on the front nine, Baker made some adjustments at the turn and made up some ground. Baker made four birdies after making the turn, finishing 2-under on the back nine.
“Brent’s 75 is worth noting because at the turn he was 5-over. A lot of his chips were short. I think he was trying to be a little too perfect,” Evans said. “We talked at the turn and he made the adjustment. He ended up with a 34 on the back nine.”
Trouble on the greens, and on the finishing holes on each side, were the only complaints Evans had during what was otherwise a productive first round.
“We knew that these greens were going to be thin because of the harsh winter and that they were going to be very fast,” the coach said. “We were too aggressive on the greens and we started not to putt well. When they’re playing fast, you don’t want to go after the hole. We can’t afford to give away strokes in a tournament where the teams are as good as they are here.
“We also leaked a little oil on the finishing holes. We didn’t play (No.) 9 well. Nine and 18 are tough finishing holes. We just have to bear down on those tomorrow.”
The greens were particularly rough for Bennett, who three-putted several times. But he wasn’t the only one.
“I need to do better at light putting and that’s going to help me tomorrow,” Bennett said. “I could’ve shot a 75 today the way I was hitting the ball, but I had too many three-putts. For me it was mostly the speed of the greens. That really hurt me today.”
Belovsky experienced some of the same pain on the greens as his classmate Bennett.
“Definitely if you blow it past (the hole), you’ve got a hard two-putt coming back,” Belovsky said. “You’ve got to play it smart. I’ve missed my share of four- and five-footers today and that was not fun.”
When Huntsville made mistakes, the Hornets did their best to avoid running into a trap of repeating those on consecutive holes.
“If you do get into trouble, you just have to make the lowest number possible and move on from there,” Baker said. “You can never give up on this course. The mistakes we did make, which you’re going to have out here, we kept them to a minimum.”
Huntsville’s No. 2 team sits in seventh place following a first-round total of 339. Cody Signorin shot an 82, Bryson O’Brien turned in an 83, Babe Mishler fired an 86, Grant Nicholas had an 88 and Murray Gould shot 91.
Both Huntsville teams will begin today’s second round on the No. 1 hole. Huntsville II will tee off starting at 8:30 a.m., while Huntsville I will begin at 10 a.m.
“It’s all kind of close together at the top,” Belovsky said. “It’s not as big a deficit as it is for other teams. We played good as a team today. Our scores are low and are pretty low to one another.”
1. Montgomery I 305
2. Huntsville I 314
3. Montgomery II 319
4. Magnolia I 327
5. Magnolia West 332
6. Brenham I 336
7. Huntsville II 339
8. Magnolia II 358
9. Willis I 365
10. Caney Creek 367
11. Willis II 393
12. Waller 403
13. Brenham II 407
1. G. Schroeder (Montgomery) 73
2. B. Baker (Huntsville) 75
3. J. Molina (Magnolia) 76
t4. M. Smith (Montgomery) 77
t4. R. Beatty (Montgomery) 77
t4. C. Keller (Montgomery) 77
t7. T. Belovsky (Huntsville) 78
t7. L. Thomason (Montgomery) 78
9. J. Montgomery (Montgomery) 79
t10. Cory Sammons (Huntsville) 80
t10. K. Beard (Montgomery) 80