MAGNOLIA — Montgomery entered the second and final day of the District 20-5A championships with a 23-shot lead over the rest of the field. As long as the Bears avoided a complete implosion, they were destined to claim the league crown.
Montgomery did just that, cruising to a 45-stroke victory and claiming a spot at regional tournament. While that accomplishment was something to be proud of, Bears coach Kirk Thomason was even more impressed with how his team refused to let up on the gas pedal in the second round.
“To still shoot really low knowing that they were going to win by quite a bit, that really stood out,” Thomason said. “They didn’t take it for granted.”
Montgomery finished with a two-day score of 592, shooting rounds of 300 and 292, respectively. The Bears’ B Team finished second at 637 (323-314), holding off Kingwood Park for the second spot at the Region III-5A tournament, set for April 24-25 at The Golf Club at La Torretta in Montgomery.
“Overall, it was a great step to get us ready for regionals,” Thomason said. “ ... All 10 of them are very close, and they get along great. Obviously, they play together all the time in practice, and we were paired together today, which helped. The [A] Team helped calm the [B] Team down because they’ve been there. I’ve got three seniors — Terrin (Anderson), Hunter (Bott) and Cade (Walker) — that have been in the top five basically all four years. They helped the other ones and showed them how to be calm.”
The Montgomery A Team was led by Bott, who won the individual district title and was the only player in the field to shoot under par. Bott fired rounds of 72 and 70, respectively, and finished with a 2-under-par total of 142.
“I’m very pleased with getting the win, and I’m just proud of myself for staying in it mentally, trusting my game plan and executing it,” Bott said.
Anderson (75-72—147) was the individual runner-up for Montgomery, and teammate Luke Kennedy (78-72—150) took third place after winning a three-way playoff for the medal. Walker (75-78—153) took sixth, and Bryson Thurston (81-78—159) finished tied for 11th to round out the Bears’ championship team.
The Montgomery B Team was led by Eyan Edsall (80-76—156) and James Gardner (77-79—156), who finished tied for seventh place. Cason Holzshu (82-77—159), Hogan Choate (80-79—159) and Payne Coffey (81-86—167) rounded out the team.
Thomason was particularly impressed with Edsall, who carded a 9 on the par-5 at No. 1 and still managed to shoot in the mid-70s. That quick recovery was part of the reason the Bears were able to stave off Kingwood Park, which entered the day within striking distance.
“I just had to forget about it and keep playing aggressive,” Edsall said with a smile. “Hitting greens and making key putts all day. ... I was mad, thought I was going to break a club, but I kept it together and just kept it moving.”
While the Bears are sending all 10 of their golfers to the regional meet via team qualification, two other players from Montgomery County punched their tickets as individuals. Tyler Quinn of New Caney (75-75—150) and Jack Wiebe of Willis (74-76—150) tied Kennedy for third place overall and easily earned their opportunities to advance.
Kingwood Park finished third in the team standings with a two-day score of 655 (338-317). Lake Creek (334-341—675), Willis (342-339—681), New Caney (333-354—687), Tomball (355-357—712), Grand Oaks (364-362—726), Caney Creek (381-356—737), Kingwood Park B (400-380—780) and Porter (405-375—780), Huntsville (402-387—789), Grand Oaks B (458-419—877) and Huntsville B (458-446—904) rounded out the team standings.