ARDMORE — Last month at the Class 5A state preview tournament, Durant's Sydney Youngblood trudged around the course at Dornick Hills Golf and Country Club with a round of 89.
Not the kind of score that wins golf tournaments — which Youngblood had done a few times previously this season.
Showing composure beyond her years, the freshman dropped her score at Dornick Hills by 18 strokes on Wednesday, shooting a 1-under-par 71 to take a five-stroke lead at the Class 5A girls state golf tournament.
“She's been very composed all year,” Durant coach Tanner Dupree said. “She came out in our first tournament at Idabel to run away and win it, and she's been doing that all season for us.
“But for her to bounce back from that 89 here — and on this stage — was very impressive.”
Deer Creek senior Caroline Goodin is five shots back after an opening-round 76, and Bishop McGuinness junior Alexis Sadeghy is at 77 with the final 18 holes set for Thursday.
At 337, defending champion Duncan has a five-shot lead on Deer Creek in the team competition, with Durant seven shots back.
Youngblood said her ability to stay out of Dornick’s thick wooded areas was one of the keys to Wednesday’s round.
“Hitting fairways and greens, and being able to get up and down when I missed the green,” she said. “Today was tough, but everybody on the team played well.”
Youngblood isn't a new name on the girls golf circuit. She competed in the state and regional junior tours over the summer, something she feels helps her handle the pressure of the big stage.
“That helps me out a lot, knowing that these are the people I compete against every day during the summer,” Youngblood said. “I just act like it's a normal tournament. Come out here and just play.”