Two familiar foes and a newcomer sit atop the leaderboard after Wednesday's opening round of the Class 2A girls' state tournament at the Trosper Golf Course in Oklahoma City.
Defending state champion Kailey Campbell of Oktaha holds a two-stroke lead over Rejoice Christian's Katie-Lee Wilson after shooting a three-over par 73 on a day when wind gusts reached 40 mph.
Also in the hunt for the individual crown is Hinton's Maci Arrington, who finished runner-up to Campbell last season and is three strokes back.
That trio — all juniors — were the only golfers Wednesday to shoot below 80 for 18 holes. They will be in the same flight for Thursday's final round at Trosper. Their scheduled tee time is 9:23 a.m., while the first flight leaves at 8 a.m.
While Campbell and Arrington also battled for last year's title, this is Wilson's first year in the state tournament. She is a three-time state champion in the Christian League. This is the first year that Rejoice Christian in Owasso has competed in the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association.
“I knew if I shot a pretty decent round I would be in there somewhere close to the lead,” Wilson said. “I play with them (Campbell and Arrington) in my summer leagues. We are all pretty even mostly.”
Not only is Campbell trying to win her second consecutive individual state championship, she is trying to lead her team to a fourth straight state title. Okatha holds a 21-stroke lead over Hinton, something that Lady Tiger coach Chester Pittman didn't expect.
“Their (Hinton's) scores were much lower than ours through the year,” he said. “I am shocked. I am ecstatic. The kids played really well today in this wind. It was a great day. It would be very, very difficult to do this twice. We got a little cushion but I am sure we are going to need it all.”
First-year Hinton coach Stacey Wright said her club might have showed some jitters Wednesday.
“We got a lot of young players, new players and they just got to get their nerves out and tomorrow they will bring their game,” she said.
Campbell said she was pleased with her round Wednesday considering the windy conditions.
“I played pretty good,” she said. “I didn't putt very well but I hit a lot of really good shots, hit a lot of greens. I drove the ball really well. You just really had to know how to deal with the wind. You had to club up on a lot of shots.”
The wind played havoc for everyone.
“Some of the par threes straight into the wind were brutal but I am pretty happy with my score,” Wilson said. “I had two double bogeys and it's just the doubles I wish I could have kept off.”
Arrington, who has been the state runner-up the past two years, said a few missed putts cost her Wednesday.
“I missed a lot of short putts I shouldn't have missed,” she said.
The three contenders expect it will take a round of even par or better Thursday to win the state championship.
“It will have to be low,” Wilson said. “I am going to have to be at my best.”
Asked if she feels added pressure being the defending champ, Campbell said, “Not at all. I am just going to go out there and do what I do and the chips are going to fall into place.”