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BOYS GOLF: Monahans uses past experience to capture state championship

Odessa American, Texas — Eric Blum Odessa American, Texas

May 16--The Monahans boys golf team hasn't had a smooth path in recent trips to the UIL State Championships.

Rain delays, and memories of getting pushed off the podium, motivated this pack of Loboes as they returned for another shot at the title for a fourth consecutive year.

Monahans then used those previous hardships as motivation and navigated through the course to lift the school's first boys golf championship since 1971.

Carding a two-day total of 615 (306-309), the Loboes outdueled three-time defending state champion Argyle by 11 strokes to win the Class 4A crown Tuesday at Apple Rock Golf Course in Marble Falls.

Bullard rounded out the podium 24 strokes back of Monahans.

"It was incredible, that's the only way I can describe it," Monahans head boys golf coach Cameron Swarb said. "It took us four times, but bringing a state championship to Monahans is something we've dreamed of for a long time.

"We took care of business the last few days. We played consistent. I couldn't be more proud of them."

The Loboes' boys golf team also lifted a state championship in 1970. This was the school's first state title since the girls golf team won the Class 3A championship in 2010.

Monahans senior Joey Kirk finished second in the individual standings after shooting a 73 in both rounds. He finished four strokes back of Madisonville's Sam Bennett (70-72--142).

"It was great to do it with a team that was so close together and worked so hard," Monahans junior JT Pittman said. "I felt a lot more confident in me and my team this time; I felt like we worked really hard this year."

Pittman along with seniors Dante Griner, Ryan Hedges and Kirk, as well as freshman Bond Heflin, shot under 310 both days at the state championship, which no other team accomplished.

"Breaking 310 at that course twice is a phenomenal feat," Swarb added. "That course is brutal."

Monahans finished strong at the state tournament despite knowing that Argyle had shortened its lead to just four strokes with seven holes to go.

Kirk said the previous state-championship experience helped his team stay on top.

"Having the experience, it kept us clam in that moment instead of panicking," Kirk added. "I don't think anyone panicked throughout the tournament, even our freshman Bond. All week we had a pretty good feeling. We had a really positive mentality."

Swarb said he had a really good feeling about the state championship after the team's practice round at the course Saturday, adding that his team knew how to approach certain holes without much of his help.

Only Heflin and Pittman return for the Loboes next season.

"We're going to have to work extra hard next year and make sure everyone's all in to win another one," Pittman said.

-- Follow Eric Blum on Twitter @EricBlumOA

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