Bobcats come a long way in a short time

Posted Monday, Apr. 22, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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For the second straight year, the Byron Nelson golf program is sending both of its teams to the state tournament, and coach Barry Hawkins said he could not be prouder of his players.

Nelson won regional championships on both the boys and girls side earlier this month, and Hawkins said things did not come easily for his teams.

“With the boys, we struggled a little bit on Day 1, but a lot of that had to do with the elements,” Hawkins said. “We did not play all that well, but did play good enough to sustain a lead. Johnny Jones shot a one under round, which kept us in the thick of things. Day 2, we played better.

“On the girls side, again, we fought the weather, and I don't think the score indicates how well they played. It was an endurance test, and they just gritted and ground it out. Maty (Monzingo) shot especially well on the girls side, especially given the conditions.”

The boys shot a 303-297 for the tournament, with Jones as the top player, finishing third at the tournament with a score of 70-73.

On the girls side, Monzingo brought home a regional championship, shooting 71-71 for the tournament, and teammate Alexandra Batista finished second, shooting 80-78.

Hawkins said he really does not have any areas of concern as the teams head into the state tournament, as both his boys and girls squads appear to be very focused and an intent on finishing what they started.

“There are really not,” Hawkins said. “As a matter of fact, last year with the boys, we kind of faltered going into it, after we had been playing well, and they are determined not to let that happen again.

“The girls are just on a roll, and if we play the game we are capable of winning state championships on both sides this date.”

Shortly after being named the school's first head golf coach in 2009, Hawkins gave an interview where he discussed some of the growing pains a young program faces. Four years ago, he said, “I'm looking forward to the challenge. There is no experience to fall back on, and we are starting from scratch. I think our greatest challenge will be establishing leadership and developing some experience.”

Now, with both of his teams vying for a state championship for the second consecutive season, Hawkins said it has been quite gratifying to see his vision for the Nelson program come to fruition.

“I'm very proud of what we have accomplished,” Hawkins said. “We hold our heads high and continue to do things the right way, and we have just great kids. They are not only respectful, but they respect the game and respect the name that they are playing under. That's gratifying enough for us.”

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