The Byron Nelson High School golf teams are becoming regular visitors to Austin each spring.
Both the boys and girls teams have qualified for the UIL state tournament for the second consecutive year, and it’s the fourth straight trip for the girls. The school in Trophy Club bearing the name of a legendary golfer opened in the fall of 2009.
UIL state golf tournament
Class 5A (at Morris Williams Golf Course)
Mansfield: Andre Garcia, Luke Neeley, Will Clark, Hayden Frederick, Cole Barnett.
Southlake Carroll: Matt Gilchrest, Corbin Kasten, Colin Kober, Mason Greenberg, Jorge Morillo
Southlake Carroll: Emily Grabarkewitz, Adriana Morillo, Isabelle Youree, Corie McAnally, Katie Weinberger
Mansfield: Jessie White, Krysta Skelley, Tanner Wilson, Rachel Dahl, Courtney Bartholomew
Arlington: Erica Lautensack
Class 4A (at Onion Creek Club)
Trophy Club Nelson: Johnny Jones, Hayden Springer, Ty Hazelwood, Ryan Johnson, Mitchell Ray
Granbury: Travis Benson, Austin Kinsey, Justin Largent, Zach Wall, Briggs Berry
Fort Worth Arlington Heights: Zach Campbell
Trophy Club Nelson: Maty Monzingo, Zoey DaneshFar, Allyson Springer, Aimee Mires, Alexandra Batista
Aledo: Quincy Ballard, Taryn Pittman, Savannah Moody, Taylor Brookshire, Elizabeth Boll
Crowley: Katie Johnston, Kyong Kim
Class 2A (Thursday-Friday at Roy Kizer Golf Course)
Brock: D’Lynn Roach, Dalton Boles, Caleb Guyon, Logan Wagner, Matt Williams
Caly Linton, Rio Vista
Lauren Power, Millsap
But Nelson players are still in search of their first state title — and in fact the school’s first state title in any team sport.
“I can only dream of it,” coach Barry Hawkins said. “It would be nice for Byron Nelson’s sake that we could hoist that trophy and be the first one. We talk about putting our name on the water tower as a team state champion. That’s the goal we have in mind right now.”
The Bobcats have a good chance to capture that elusive team title. Both the boys and girls teams head to Austin as regional champions, and both teams are ranked in the top three in the state, according to online site High School Golf Scoreboard.
“I really feel like we are in a good position to do it,” senior Maty Monzingo said.
Monzingo is a three-time regional champion, was a state runner-up last season and is the state’s top-ranked player. She’s been with the program since its inception and not only shoots low scores, but has helped bring along younger players.
“It pushes them,” Hawkins said. “They see what kind of player she is and what kind of work ethic she has. It’s only made the players better around her.”
Monzingo and the other golfers at Nelson are fully aware of all that comes with playing at a school named after the man who won 11 consecutive PGA Tour tournaments in 1945, and 18 that year. Nelson, a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, died in 2006.
“Playing for Byron Nelson High School, it’s not just your normal high school,” she said. “Being able to bring back a state championship, I think that would mean a lot to us and to Mrs. Nelson. We’re not just doing it for ourselves, we’ve got a lot of people out there watching us.”
Nelson’s widow, Peggy, supports and is actively involved in the program.
“When I have gone to the different tournaments and events, you can’t help but think about how pleased and proud Byron would have been, not only of the quality of their play but the character that they demonstrate on the course,” she said.
Said Hawkins: “She comes to every tournament she can and all our kids know her. She knows all our kids and that helps as well. When we started this program, it was necessary that we all understand the history of who Byron Nelson was. They understand what they’re playing for and who they’re playing for.”
“The fact that the name motivates them so much is kind of cool,” Nelson added. “You think that a name [of a school] doesn’t mean very much sometimes ... it’s too bad that Byron wouldn’t have been able to see this.”
So does the lore of Nelson’s legend put added pressure on the player?
“I think there’s a little pressure there, but we just kind of embrace it,” Monzingo added. “We like having that name.”
Sophomore Johnny Jones is in his second year with the program, and like the others, embodies the ideals that Nelson brought to the game.
“It’s really cool playing for a school named after Byron Nelson,” he said. “Considering the character he had on the course, we try to shoot for not only our best athletic ability, but also good sportsmanship. To win a state title would be a huge deal.”
Peggy Nelson won’t be able to attend the state tournament, due to a previous commitment with the school, but says she’ll be following live scoring on the Internet.
“Winning the state title would obviously be wonderful and, of course, being golf, it would be very dear to my heart as well as to Byron’s,” she said.
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