Keller’s Claire Carlin took home medalist honors at the Region I golf tournament and will represent the Lady Indians as the first Keller girls golfer to compete at the state tournament.
The Keller girls had finished second as a team at the district tournament the week before.
Carlin finished tied for second place at the District 4-5A meet, one stroke behind Carroll’s Adrianna Morillo.
Timber Creek’s Olivia Gibbs finished fourth, while the team was fifth at the girls district meet.
Central’s young squad competed well. “Our young golfers got valuable experience in the district meet and we’re hoping to build on it,” said Lady Chargers head coach Dave Maher. With no seniors, the Lady Chargers had just a sophomore and two juniors.
“I’m proud of them and it’s something we can continue to build on,” Maher said.
Fossil Ridge’s Syndey Bowman shot a 175 to finish eighth in the girls individual standings.
For Carlin, the senior won the regional tournament by one stroke and finished 3-under for the two days at Waco Midway.
“She’s been playing good all year,” said Keller head golf coach Chris Ball. “She had never shot under par all year before setting a school record at the regional.”
Carlin said the regional meet was her last chance to take a shot at the state berth and she felt she had nothing to lose.
“I played like I know how I could play,” she said. “After the practice round I knew I could score on this course. I just wanted to have fun.”
Playing without her teammates alongside her on the regional course, Carlin said having Ball to talk to between holes helped her stay loose.
“When you’re playing well, you don’t want to have to think about it,” she said of the small talk with Ball out on the course.
Coincidentally, the regional tournament was the first meet Carlin’s father, Ray, was unable to attend. Ball said he was in constant contact with Ray by text to update him on his daughter’s performance.
The obvious question was asked of Carlin as to whether she will request her father not attend the state tournament on April 28-29 at Onion Creek in Austin.
“I haven’t said anything yet,” Carlin said.
Regardless of attendees, Carlin said she’s looking forward to the opportunity, but knows plenty of quality golfers await at the state meet.
“I’ve got to play extremely well, but whatever happens, happens,” Carlin said.
“I played the (state) course a year ago and know the course well,” she said.
Ball said Carlin’s strength is being able to hit for distance off the tee, saying Carlin was driving farther with a 3-wood when most were using drivers.
“I’m flexible off the tee,” Carlin said. “But I’ve worked on my short game. You’ve got to make your putt whether it’s from 30 feet or close in. It’s a matter of focus.”
Aaron Guanlao of Northwest was tied for medalist honors with Carroll’s Colin Hamilton at 145.
Keller’s Parker McEachern was tied for eighth as the next highest non-Carroll golfer, losing in a playoff by one stroke for the medalist spot for the non-team qualifying golfer and a shot to move on to the regional meet.
Central’s highest finisher was Brandon Stone, who finished with a 164.
The district won’t be getting any easier next year, as the redistricting trades Carroll for perennial power Byron Nelson.