Published: 11:11 am, Wed. Apr. 6th, 2016Updated: 11:07 am
The Lady Bulldog golf team blew away the competition in the inaugural Eddy County Challenge, while the Bulldogs came a single shot away from making it a sweep.
Both the Artesia High School girls and boys handily won Day One of the event Monday at the Artesia Country Club, with the Lady ‘Dogs besting their closest competition – Clovis – by 15 shots and the ‘Dogs topping Carlsbad by 16.
The Lady Bulldogs would throw another log on their hot streak Tuesday at the Lake Carlsbad Golf Course, outshooting host Carlsbad 349-403 to claim the Challenge title by a jaw-dropping shot margin of nearly 100.
“The girls again went out and played golf the way they know how,” coach Dusty Bean said today. “It’s easy to coach when the kids are coachable.”
The Bulldogs had a rougher day on the Carlsbad course, and the Cavemen were able to capitalize, besting Artesia 311-328 to win the two-day event by a stroke, 626-627.
In addition to their top team finishes Monday in Artesia, the Lady ‘Dogs’ and Bulldogs’ respective team scores of 338 – a school record – and 299 earned them a state-qualifying leg, the girls’ third and final of the necessary three and the boys’ second. The Lady Bulldogs tacked on a fourth for good measure Tuesday, while the ‘Dogs came six shots away from their third.
“I was really pleased with the way the boys played, especially that first day,” said coach Paul Kirkwood. “If I’m not mistaken, that’s the second-lowest team score in the state, which is really great.
“The second day, we just didn’t play as smart as we should have. We ended up having quite a few penalty strokes, hitting the ball out of bounds, so Carlsbad was able to come back on us.”
Individually, the achievements continued to rack up for the Lady Bulldogs.
Sophomore Josey Jackson’s round of 74 Monday was not only good enough for her third and final individual state leg and first place overall in the tournament, it earned her an Artesia Country Club course record as the lowest women’s round shot since the new golf course was constructed.
Freshman Brehnan Davis shot an 80 in Artesia for third place overall and her second individual leg, and eighth-grader Taysea Powell notched her second leg, as well, with a round of 86. Senior Chaz Matthews topped the field Monday with a round of 72 for his second leg, while Jake Craft and Caleb Morton both shot 74s for their first and second legs respectively and a tie for second place.
Jackson took top honors again for the Lady ‘Dogs Tuesday in Carlsbad with a 76 for a Challenge-topping two-day total of 150 and a fourth leg. Davis earned second place overall in the event with an 89 at Lake Carlsbad for her third leg and a two-day 169. Powell secured her third leg with an 89 and fourth overall with a 175, and junior Sydni Salmon earned her first individual leg with a 95, which included a 60-yard shot for an eagle on the par-four 17th.
“The kids are focusing on hitting the fairways, hitting the greens,” said Bean. “I was also very impressed by Sydni Salmon. When your No. 5 golfer can step up and shoot a qualifying score, that means a lot. That you can rely on somebody like her to produce a score that helps our team is great, and she really helped us that second day in Carlsbad.”
Rounding out the Lady Bulldogs’ Artesia Country Club outing were Teagan Archer (98) and Salmon (104), while Bri’LeAnn Ybarra, golfing individually, posted a 109. For the ‘Dogs, Giovanni Huitron turned in a round of 79 and Parker Sanders an 87. The Bulldog JV’s team 336 – comprised of Wesley Davis (82), Jake Nelson (84), Hector Flores (85), Tanner Parker (85) and Canon Carter (94) – was good enough for fourth in the tournament.
Archer finished with a round of 103 Tuesday in Carlsbad for the Lady ‘Dogs, while Craft shot an 80, Morton an 81, Matthews an 82, Sanders an 85, and Huitron an 87 for the Bulldogs. Craft and Matthews tied for third in the Challenge with two-day totals of 154, and Morton came in fifth with a 155. Golfing individually for the boys, Davis posted an 89 Tuesday.
“Most of the guys played pretty steady,” Kirkwood said. “Giovanni Huitron had his low round of the year Monday, so we were really pleased with that. Now we get to have a few days to go to school and get some practice in, so we’re excited to get to work on a few things like making sure we keep the ball in the fairway this week.”
The Artesia golfers will next head to the Coyote Invitational Monday at Spring River in Roswell, where the Bulldogs will be looking to qualify their third state leg and the Lady ‘Dogs to continue honing their game.
“I’m very proud of the girls, and we’re just going to stay the course, keep it simple,” said Bean. “Because we’ve missed so much school, the next day or two we’re going to focus a lot on our grades and getting some of that work done the girls have missed, and then we’ll get back into it Thursday afternoon and really focus on hitting the greens and the fairways.”
“Spring River doesn’t have as much out of bounds, but it does have a lot of trees,” said Kirkwood, “so if we don’t hit the ball in the fairway, you can be in the same predicament. So we’re going to have to concentrate. Sometimes you don’t have to hit a driver on every hole, so we have to figure out which club is going to get us hitting it straight.
“We also really appreciate all the help we had at our part of the tournament. Halliburton cooked burgers for all the players, and we’re really grateful for that, and we just had a ton of spectators. That’s just an Artesia thing, and we love it. What makes Artesia great is the support of all the activities for the kids, and we really appreciate that.”