Going into the Class 4A girls event at the UIL state golf championship one thing was a given — the title would come down to two teams, perennial champion Montgomery or Trophy Club Byron Nelson, a squad that had been knocking on the door the past three years.
Consider that door open. For the first time in school history, Nelson’s name was atop the leader board Tuesday afternoon as the Bobcats broke Montgomery’s four-year stranglehold on the girls’ 4A crown.
Nelson, riding a final-round 2-over-par 72 by senior Maty Monzingo and a season-best 3-over 73 from freshman Alex Bautista, amassed a team score of 621 at the North course at Onion Creek Club to hold off Montgomery (625) by four strokes. The title wasn’t decided until the final hole and didn’t come easy as Montgomery cut the deficit from seven strokes to four on the par-5 18th.
Montgomery had won 11 of the past 12 girls 4A state titles. Nelson fell three strokes short in 2012 but learned from that setback and used it as motivation.
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“The difference today was that we now have the experience to win at this level,” Nelson coach Barry Hawkins said. “We might have wilted under the pressure for the past three years, but we knew we could win this tournament if we played our best. This is a culmination of a season of hard work and dedication for this team. I couldn’t be prouder.”
Neither, it seems, could Peggy Nelson, the widow of the late legendary golfer whose name is carried on the course by Byron Nelson High School. Peggy called coach Hawkins and the team almost immediately after the victory was clinched to offer her congratulations.
Monzingo, who will play golf next fall at Texas State, also captured second place in the medalist event. She ended up tied at 4-over 144 with Dana Clary of Cedar Park and outlasted Clary in two-hole playoff for second place.
“It feels so good to get over the hump and win this after being so close last year and getting to the state tournament the past three seasons,” Monzingo said. “There is a lot of weight that goes with carrying the name of Byron Nelson on our bags. We have been so focused on playing our best when we got to state and it’s great to be champions.”
In the boys event, Highland Park roared to state title, riding individual medalist Scottie Scheffler’s 6-under-par 64 in the final round to a 25-stroke win over second-place Cedar Park and Austin Vandegrift, which was another four shots back in third. Nelson was third at 590.
In the 5A boys competition at Morris Williams Golf Course, Mansfield watched a nine-stroke lead evaporate with the fog that delayed early-morning play as Austin Lake Travis shot 11-under-par as a team in the second round to post a five-stroke victory at 571 for 36 holes.
Lake Travis, which won the boys 4A title in 2012, played so well that it was able to toss out an even-par 72 by Dillon Van Essen as its fifth-best score — the other four Cavaliers (led by Jake Ezell’s 66 a day after he shot a team-worst 80 in the first round) were all under par for the second round.
Mansfield finished at 576, six strokes clear of third-place Southlake Carroll (582).
In the girls event, Lake Travis made it a clean sweep in 5A, holding off district rival Austin Westlake by seven strokes. Lake Travis posted a 598, while Westlake ended up at 605.