The Woodlands finishes third at Class 6A state golf tourney

GEORGETOWN – Before the playoff hole took place at Legacy Hills Golf Club early Tuesday evening, it was already a redemption story for The Woodlands girls golf team.

After 36 holes of golf at the UIL Class 6A Tournament, the Lady Highlanders were tied for second place with powerhouse Lake Travis, the three-time defending state champions.

The Lady Cavaliers won the playoff hole on No. 18 by two strokes (all five girls from each team plays the hole) and the Lady Highlanders took third place.

Austin Westlake won going away with a 589 (290-299). It’s the Chaps’ first state title since 2011. Lake Travis goes home with silver at a 604 (303-295) while The Woodlands won bronze (303-301).

Houston Memorial fell short by just four strokes at 608 (294-314).

Last year, The Woodlands went home earlier in the day in 10th place. It was quite the turnaround this year.

"We can take this five bunch of girls and go anywhere in the country and compete," The Woodlands coach Chad Handley said. "It means a lot to us. Redemption from last year. They’ll never know how proud of them that I am."

For senior Kenlie Barrett, it was a thrill to finish her high school career with a medal.

"For The Woodlands to come in as the underdogs, it’s a big accomplishment for our whole team," she said. "It’s a fantastic feeling to win third at state. Especially in Texas."

Handley was proud with how his team played both days.

"The kids fought hard for two days," he said. "There are so many good girls golfers in Texas. We just beat nine really good teams. The teams should be proud to be here."

Karina Benavides led the way for the Lady Highlanders with at tied for 11th place finish at 71-76 (147), which was 3-over par. Barrett and Hana Bowment both tied for 22nd at 8-over par.

Avery Blake was tied for 36th while Daira Moreno was tied for 51st.

"We definitely put the heat on all the girls today," Handley said. "We weren’t going to take anything for granted and we wanted as many birdies as we could get."

The Woodlands finished second in the District 12-6A tournament and were third in the Region II-6A tournament.

The Lady Highlanders were tied for third coming into the final round.

"After we finished our round yesterday and they told me we were tied for third, I was like ‘are you serious?’," Barrett said. "It’s a really good feeling to finish my senior year like this."

For Memorial, Zoe Slaughter led the way. She finished tied for 11th at 3-over par (71-76-147). The Lady Mustangs finished fifth as a team last year.

"I was absolutely proud," Memorial coach Holly Paulk said. "They really have skill that they don’t know they have. That’s honestly our main battle is to get them to understand how good they are to believe in yourself. You’re only going to be as good as you believe you are."

Libby Winans of Plano East was the individual gold medalist. She was an impressive 9-under par. Anne Chen of Clements finished second place at 6-under par. Jennie Park of Lewisville Hebron finished third.

Leading individuals for Greater Houston included Katy Tompkins’ Elina Sinz and Klein Oak’s Amelia Mckee. Both finished tied for fourth place at 3-under par.

Cooper’s storied career comes to a close

Montgomery High School senior Hailee Cooper played her last tournament as a Montgomery Lady Bear at the UIL Class 6A championship.

The future University of Texas Longhorn was tied for seventh place at 1-under par (73-70-143) after shooting 2-under par on Tuesday.

Cooper capped a storied career for the Lady Bears. She was an individual state champion in 2015 atop many other accolades.

"At the banquet, I mentioned that she won 25 tournaments," Montgomery coach Kirk Thomason said. "She won regional three times, district four times. She never shot in the 80s in 80 rounds. On top of that, she’s a great person."

Montgomery, which drops down to Class 5A next year, finished in sixth place. The Lady Bears reached the state tournament all four years while in Class 6A with a third, two fourth place and a sixth place finish respectively.

Also at the Class 6A tournament

A year after taking sixth place, Kingwood returned to Legacy Hills Golf Club and finished 10th this year in the Class 6A championship. The Lady Mustangs were led by Marybeth Belnap who finished 9-over par (75-78-158).

Katy Seven Lakes finished in seventh place, just four shots back of Montgomery in sixth. Last year, Seven Lakes finished in ninth place as a team. Isha Dhurva finished 2-over par (72-74-146) to lead the Lady Spartans.

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