Poteau — The good news for the Ada Cougars golf team is that it qualified for next week's Class 4A State Tournament at Oklahoma City's Lake Hefner North Golf Course.
The scary news for the Cougars is that they made state by the hair of their chinny, chin, chins as they grabbed the third, and final, team spot for qualifying to state as a team by one shot over the Hilldale Hornets at the Class 4A Regional Tournament on Monday at Wolf Ridge Country Club.
The defending Class 4A state champs finished with a 335-340—675, while the Hornets were a stroke off the mark at 341-335—676.
"We knew it was going to be a challenge coming in here," Ada coach Robbie Powell said. "From what I've seen, I think this was the hardest regional as far as the top four teams here. We knew there was going to be a good team left out, and we were sure hoping it wasn't going to be us. It worked out well because it turned out it wasn't us."
The bottom line is the Cougars survived the rugged regional and will be one of the teams vying for the Class 4A state title next Monday and Tuesday in Oklahoma City.
"[Making state] was definitely the main goal," Powell said. "In a 36-hole tournament, the second round is always a little rougher."
The Cougars did not have a regional medalist, but had the standard top 10 medalists been in play, Ada would have had one. Casey Mankin shot a 75-84—159 to tie Poteau's Jarrett Lowrimore for seventh-place overall. However, only the top four individual golfers are medalists in the 4A Regional.
Powell said had his chances at finishing into the top five.
"Casey did play really well," Powell said. "He was hoping coming up here to be in the top five as an individual, but our main goal as a team — and for him, too — was to qualify as a team (for state).”
Still, it was a team effort that enable the Cougars to get to state.
Tim Simpson shot a 90-82—172 — including registering a birdie on the final hole that helped secure Ada’s state tournament berth. He was followed by Ben Pruitt (92-83—175), Sam Brown (81-95—176) and Reed Townsend (89-91—180). Brown’s effort was his season’s best.
"I was real proud of how Sam played in the first round," Powell said. "That was his lowest round this year by a bunch, and we really needed it because a couple of others were struggling early. Then, I had some really come on and play well in the afternoon [second round]. It was a good team effort."
Poteau's Cody Shore was the individual champion (70-73—143) and his
Pirates won the regional on their home course with a 314-310—624.
Sallisaw was regional runner-up (320-309—629).