EULESS, Texas — Waxahachie High School entered possibly its toughest golf tournament of the year against 15 potential regional qualifying teams from the 6A Region II Area on March 5 at the Texas Star Golf Course.
The varsity Indians, the only 5A team in the tournament, placed eighth out of 16 teams when the smoke from the two-day golf battle faded.
"We knew fully well we were playing against some of the best 6A teams in the area. Our goal was to play the course and do the best we could," Indian Head Coach Terry Minton said. "Hopefully, this and the other difficult courses we play will transcend into a good district showing and regional team playoff berth."
The field of teams included Allen, Flower Mound, Flower Mound Marcus, Hebron, Keller Timber Creek, Plano, Plano East, Plano West, Southlake, Waco Midway, Wolfforth-Frenship High Schools.
Waxahachie, which was also without Luke Tomison and Austin Stallcop, who were injured and ill and not able to compete, played pm possibly the most difficult course they'll step on this season.
The Texas Star is among the most difficult courses in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with a course rating of 74.1, a slope rating of 136 and a course distance of 6,900 yards — just shy of four miles. In comparison, the Waxahachie Country Club is rated at 68.5 with a 104 slope and distance of 6,150 yards.
In football terms, the difference between Waxahachie and Euless' courses is 750 yards — more than seven football field distance. Slope ratings in golf vary from a minimum of 55 (very easy) to a maximum of 155 (extremely difficult).
"We would have liked to have them compete but the two other players were medalist and it would not have affected the outcome of the tournament. In golf, you the four best scores out of your team of five counts," Minton said. "The course, though, was very difficult and great preparation for the district tournament. Every course has a “course rating." Let’s say the par on [The Waxahachie Country Club and Texas Star] is 72. That would mean that Texas Star plays a little over two strokes harder than par and Waxahachie would play about four strokes easier.
"Tangleridge and Rockwall — the locations for district and regionals — fall below the Texas Star in rating and slope. Our kids have played those two numerous times and understand the course layout much better than the Texas Star."
Despite the disadvantage of having to of the team's steadiest golfers on the course and facing the rigors of Euless' brutal course run, the Indians more than made up for the absence.
Paul Gonzalez, Chuckie Pinkstaff, Luke Morgan, Tobyn Hood and Jett Tekell finished with a combined 328 score on day one and finished day two with a collective 329 and ended with a tournament-high 657 points.
Gonzalez and Pinkstaff led the Indians with two-day scores of 79 and 73 and 75 and 83, respectively. Morgan shot 91 and 87, Hood finished with 91 and 86 and Tekell had a one-day score of 83.
They also picked up gold medals on Friday and Saturday during a five-team Burleson Centennial Golf Tournament at the Hidden Creek Golf Course. Led by Gonzalez (75/69), Pinkstaff (78/77) the Indians finished first in front of Lake Dallas, Burleson Centennial and Maypearl High Schools.
Hood (80/83), Stallcop (88/88) and Tekell (85/95) also helped Waxahachie gain its first-place foothold in the tournament.
Though there is a considerable break between the upcoming March 24 Mansfield ISD Tournament at the Walnut Creek Country Club, Minton said the Indians are picking up momentum during the season and catching their stride at the right time.
The upcoming tournament will find its home on the 18-hole 6,6516-yard course with a 70 par and a 132 slope rating.
"Every time we compete, we are playing to do our best and nothing compares to playing against quality opponents," he said. "That holds true for any sport. After spring break, we are making the push to district held on April 11 and 12. We will try to incorporate what we have learned playing the difficult courses into understanding course management and shot selection."
Marcus S. Marion can be reached for story idea submissions or concerns at (469) 517-1456. Follow him on Twitter at @MarcusMarionWNI.