Rounds at the All-State Golf Tournament the last couple of years have taken close to six hours to complete, so in an effort to speed up play, and add more of a team element to the event, the Oklahoma Golf Coaches Association instituted a new format for the competition this year.
Previously, the event had consisted of 12 one-on-one match play competitions, but the new format paired two-person teams against each other.
The first six holes were played as a two-person scramble. The next six were best-ball competition in which each player completed the hole alone, and the team got credit for the lowest of the two scores. And the final six holes were modified alternate shot.
One point was awarded to the winning team for each six-hole segment, and one point for the lowest total score over 18 holes, meaning each match had a maximum of four points available.
It made for some serious drama, with the East winning the overall match 24.5-23.5 over the West.
Not only did the format cut down on the length of the rounds in the 100-plus degree heat, it was a fun day for the players.
“I've never played this format in an actual competition before, but it was really fun,” El Reno's Logan Gray said. “It was hot out there, so it really drained you. But with this, you don't have to hit every shot, so you get a chance to rest a little.”
GRAY, OAKS FIRE LOW ROUND
Two months after doing battle in a playoff to decide the Class 5A state champion, Gray and Ardmore's Jacob Oaks found themselves on the same side Monday — and the pairing was a big success.
Gray and Oaks shot an 8-under-par 62, which accounted for the best score of the day and a 4-0 win in their pairing. But it wasn't enough for the West team. The East boys won the match 15.5-8.5.
“Jacob and I really vibed off each other,” Gray said. “I didn't really know him before state, but we've developed a good friendship since then.”
Oaks, the Class 5A state champ, was also named the Jim Thorpe Association Boys Golfer of the Year. Purcell's Megan Gowens won the girls award, and Mooreland coach Terry Kellner was the Coach of the Year.
LAWSON, JOHNSON LEAD WEST GIRLS
Two longtime friends were paired in the girls competition, and it produced an easy victory.
Mustang's Charter Lawson and Duncan's Amanda Johnson have known each other since they were young. They spent all day Sunday hanging out together in Tulsa and were partnered with each other for the tournament.
They shot the low round by a girls team with a 6-under-par 66, one of only two rounds below 70.
“We had the best time,” Lawson said. “We know each other's shots and we were able to play off of each other well.”
They won their match 4-0, helping the West girls to a 15-9 win over the East.