GEORGETOWN — As the lone senior on the College Station boys golf team, Nicholas Holland did whatever he could to lead the young Cougars to a height they’d never been as a program.
Holland did it one last time in his last round in high school, grinding out a team-best 5-over 77 on Tuesday in the Class 5A state tournament at White Wing Golf Club. College Station followed up a 26-over 314 with a 316 to finish ninth in the final team standings.
“I’m going to be honest, I really did not think we could get here, but I never let them know that,” Holland said. “I always told them we are going to go to get to state, that no matter what we are going there, and once we did, they said, Nick, we believed we could do it because you always said we could do it.”
Highland Park won the team title at 5-over 581 followed by Boerne Champion (588), Granbury (596), Montgomery (597), Lubbock Cooper (601), Highland Park B (617), Cedar Park (622), Frisco Wakeland (624), College Station (630), Dripping Springs (652), San Antonio Alamo Heights (655) and Aledo (660).
Junior Sam Schmidt led College Station at 76-78–154 for 32nd place out of 72 golfers. Holland followed at 81-77–158 to finish 38th.
“That’s been the thing with Nick all year is he’s pushed the guys to play their best because he was definitely going to give his best no matter what,” College Station coach Brian Edwards said. “He may not have played his best every time, but he gave it his all, and that’s what we expect out of our senior leadership.”
The Cougars didn’t play their best on the second day, which was delayed because of morning storms. After handling extremely windy conditions Monday, they struggled to post lower numbers on an afternoon perfect for scoring.
“I think we were a little revved up and ready to go early this morning, and the three-hour delay probably hurt us a little bit,” Edwards said. “You know, we just didn’t rise to the challenge today like I felt like we would. But that is a young team that had a few bad holes carry over and affect us on more holes than it probably should have.”
College Station sophomore Anthony Rubino shot 78-82–160. Freshmen McKane Kiser improved five strokes Tuesday and finished at 84-79–163, while Austin Hassell shot 79-86–165.
“I hope this is a great learning experience for them, and we can tell them let’s practice with a purpose,” Edwards said. “We know what it takes to get to state, and now you also know what it’s going to take to win state, to compete at state.”
Holland’s round typified the Cougars’ day with no one able to get birdie putts to drop as they tried to move up the leaderboard in a race tightly contested from sixth to ninth place.
“The entire tournament I didn’t make a birdie, but like my round today, I think I hit 16 greens, which is really, really good for me,” Holland said. “So realistically I had eight or nine [makeable] birdie putts, putts that rolled really well, and I didn’t make a single one of them. It’s another reason I was proud of today, because I felt I had a lot of misfortune, but I still grinded through it, which is evident through all my hit greens and pars.”
Holland’s best example of grinding came on the par-5 18th – College Station’s ninth of the day. He hit a tree in the fairway with his drive and had his third shot settle on the side of an anthill less than a yard away from a water hazard behind the green. From an awkward stance, Holland chipped to within five feet and made the par-saving putt.
On the next par 5, Holland, who was honored as a second-team all-state academic performer and will attend UNLV, had to punch out sideways from a hazard and almost saved par again, but his six-footer caught the lip but refused to drop.
The Cougars only carded one birdie on the day, a four on the par-5 No. 12 by Kiser.
“We just could not make those birdie putts,” Edwards said. “We lipped out a few, left a few short. We just could not get that birdie when we needed it to perhaps offset maybe that double we took.”
Holland said he owed “the fellas” for helping get him to state, and despite finishing ninth, he believed his teammates learned from the experience and will grow from it.
“Ninth – we will take that for the first year to make it here,” Edwards said. “To finish ninth in the state of Texas Class 5A golf with a relatively young team, I’m totally happy with that. Obviously you want more for the kids, but again I think this puts a taste in their mouth that will drive them for the next couple of years.”
Normangee boys place eighth in 2A
AUSTIN — The Normangee boys golf team finished eighth at the 2A state tournament at Roy Kizer Golf Club, shooting 339 on Tuesday for a 715 total.
Goldthwaite won at 618.
All of Normangee’s golfers improved on their first rounds. Nicholas Childress led the Panthers at 87-82–169 followed by Rainer Horne (88-82–170), Ty Aguirre (97-82–179) and David Rumley (104-93–187).
Cameron placed 10th at the 3A boys tournament at Grey Rock Golf Course. The Yoemen closed with a 334, improving by 39 shots for a 697 total, allowing them to moved up two spots in the team standings. Columbus won at 627, a shot better than Pottsboro.
Cameron’s Nikolas Keratsopoulos tied for fifth individually at 78-74–152 followed by Kobe Young (92-83–175), Stockton Kruse (92-86–178), Mason Vaculin (101-91–192) and Luke Green (104-99–203).
Rockdale’s Ross Loth shot 86-74–160 as an individual qualifier.
NOTES — Former College Station Cougar, junior Landry Schmoker, shot a 1-over 73 for Lubbock Cooper. Schomaker tied for 13th individually at 147. ... Mission Sharyland senior Jimmy Lee shot 69-68–137 to win the 5A individual title by four strokes over Colleyville Heritage sophomore Kevin Watts.