Published: 1:43 pm, Sun. Mar. 26th, 2017Updated: 1:41 pm
There are few things more impressive than back-to-back sweeps at a high-school golf tournament, particularly considering the fickle conditions – both weather and course wise – in Southeast New Mexico.
One of those things would be the margins by which the Bulldog and Lady Bulldog golfers accomplished that feat Friday in Ruidoso.
The Artesia girls collected their fourth first-place trophy in as many outings at The Links at Sierra Blanca by an eye-popping 68 shots under second-place Lovington. The ‘Dogs, meanwhile, picked up their second by 20 under Portales.
Needless to say, those scores were also good enough for state-tournament legs – a fourth for the Lady ‘Dogs, who completed their necessary three Thursday at the Roswell Alien 8, and a second for the Bulldogs.
“Everybody’s doing their jobs right now,” head coach Dusty Bean said Friday. “I’m pretty proud of all of them. We’re gelling as a team. We’re motivated, and the best part is, we still haven’t played our best golf. And that’s great.
“We don’t want to play our best golf right now, we want to play our best golf in May. And just wait till that happens.”
The Artesia teams’ scores were made all the more impressive by sketchy weather both Thursday in Roswell and Friday in Ruidoso.
“(In Roswell), the big thing was the wind,” said Bean. “To shoot those scores in a 40 mph wind – you’re playing golf.
“(In Ruidoso), it was kind of the same thing. We got up this morning, and it was snowing. We all bundled up, nobody griped, nobody complained – everybody was there to play golf and to win. We were focused, and that’s the beauty of this team. These kids are focused on the task at hand. Not one person made an excuse. We had our struggles, we had times when we weren’t doing as well as we knew we could, but no one made an excuse, everyone kept fighting, and that’s a beautiful thing when a plan comes together.”
The Bulldogs were led at The Links by Parker Sanders with a round of 74 that earned him first place individually, as well. Jake Craft’s 78 was good enough for second overall, and Wesley Davis’ 80 gave all three athletes an individual state leg, Davis and Sanders their third and Craft his second.
Rounding out the squad was Giovanni Huitron with an 85 and Jake Nelson with a 111.
“Parker Sanders came out and shot a 74 to win the tournament, Jake turned in a good score to finish second – if we can keep getting those kinds of scores, we’re playing the way we should,” said Bean. “And for Parker to step up and shoot what he’s capable of shooting… I’m proud of him for finally seeing his potential.”
For the Lady ‘Dogs, Josey Jackson also took first individually on the day with a round of 78, followed by Brehnan Davis in third with an 82, Taysea Powell in a tie for fourth with an 83, Teagan Archer with a 100, and BriLe Ybarra with a 109.
“Brehnan did the same thing yesterday Parker did today,” said Bean. “Josey shot an 80 in Roswell, which is very unusual for Josey, but then Brehnan stepped up and played a fantastic round at the Institute and turned in a solid score today.
“So while all five of our golfers on both teams are doing well and are very important, these No. 2 kids are stepping up and really helping things.”
The teams will now have a week off to prepare for the Eddy County Challenge April 3-4 at the Artesia Country Club and Lake Carlsbad Golf Course.
While the tournaments are separate events with separate NMAA results, the teams add an element of fun by keeping a cumulative two-day score, as well.
“That just makes it more like the state tournament, because the state tournament is a two-day event,” said Bean. “You can’t win state on the first day, but you sure can lose it, so we just like to use this as a little bit of practice for that.”