ARDMORE — Senior Max Roberts was magical for the Ada High golf team Monday and Tuesday at the Class 4A State Tournament.
Roberts shot a 3-over par 213 after three strong rounds at the Dornick Hills Golf & Country Club and captured the individual state championship. He was four strokes better than Drew Mabrey of Holland Hall, who shot a 217 and six stroke ahead of Heritage Hall standout William McDonald, who finished third at 219.
Logan Brooks of Berryhill, who out-dueled Roberts for the Class 4A Regional title last week at the Firelake Golf Course in Shawnee, was fourth at 222.
Roberts finished with rounds of 70, 72 and 71.
“Max Roberts was outstanding this week. He played really solid from the very first shot of the tournament. He is the first individual champion that I have coached and the fourth to make the All-State team,” said Ada head coach Robbie Powell. “I was very proud of his performance. It was fun to watch.”
Ada finished fifth in the team standings with a score of 323-329-332—984. The Cougars were 14 strokes behind fourth-place Elk City, who finished the three rounds at 960. Ada was well ahead of sixth-place Hilldale, who shot 1,036.
Preseason favorite Heritage Hall ran away with the 4A state title with a score of 911. Fellow private schools Cascia Hall (950) and Holland Hall (951) rounded out the Top 3.
“I thought overall we had a good tournament and a good season. We played Dornick Hills earlier in the year and shot 348 at that tournament, so to be under 330 in two of the three rounds this week was good for us. We finished about where I thought we would be going in,” Powell said.
Powell felt like the Cougars had an outside shot at catching Elk City for the top public school honors, but said he felt like some of his players got too caught up in how teammate Roberts was playing.
“Yesterday (Tuesday), we knew we had an uphill battle if we were going to catch Elk City, but Max was playing so well the other kids kind of got distracted worrying about what Max was doing,” Powell said. “Every time I would drive up to see how they were doing, they would ask me about him. That’s great to care about one of your teammates, but there was still a little bit of work to do. But we couldn’t finish any worse than fifth and they knew that. It was easy to get off track.”
It was the first individual state champion Ada High has produced since Billy Lowry won the title in 1996.
Powell said he knew since day one of the season that Roberts had this kind of potential.
“I felt like he had a chance to win every tournament we went to this year. He just has that kind of talent. He has a world of talent. He just needs to get out of his own way sometimes. He picked a good week to be able to do it,” he said.
Powell told Roberts to simply have more fun on the golf course after regional play last week.
“He’s always had that kind of talent. He’s been a kid that’s been really, really hard on himself. We talked a little last week after the regional about how he just needed out and play and enjoy being on the golf course. He needed to quit worrying so much about how things were going ... just go out and enjoy himself and smile a little more. He was able to do that this week,” he said.
The Cougars continued to face adversity at the state tournament. Ada was already without Mack Weems with an injury and during Monday’s first day of competition, sophomore Michael Huff suffered a finger injury. It was the same finger he had broken during basketball season.
“Things just didn’t go well from that standpoint,” Powell said.
Huff toughed it out and finished the tournament, but the sore finger showed in his higher-than-normal scores. At last week’s regional, he posted rounds of 78 and 79. Huff’s three-round state tournament total was 88-95-89—272.
Aiden Plumlee turned in Ada’s second-best score at 83-83-86—252. He was followed by Matthew Brown at 92-84-86—262 and David Anderson at 82-90-91—263.
Powell had a list of folks to thank for contributing to Ada’s successful golf season.
• “I want to thank Oak Hills Country Club for all they do for us. They provide us with a great place to practice and play and are always very supportive of me and the kids. It is wonderful to have their support each year.”
• “I also need to thanks Del Howry at Pecan Valley Driving Range, who helps with equipment and provides a discount to our junior high kids to practice.”
• “I also need to thank David and Mildred Muse of Lakewood Golf Course for allowing our junior high kids to play there at a discounted rate.”
• “Lastly, I need to thank (Ada Superintendent) Mike Anderson and (Ada Athletic Director) Bryan Harwell for the support they provide us. It was really neat to be coming off of the 17th hole and look up and see both of them standing behind the green watching the kids play. The kids noticed it and all mentioned seeing them there. It is great to have that kind of support from the school administration.”