STILLWATER — What began as one of the best freshman seasons in the well-decorated history of Edmond North golf ended as one of the best freshman seasons the state has ever seen.
Austin Eckroat shot 1-under-par 71 to come from five shots back and win the Class 6A individual state championship Tuesday at Karsten Creek.
Eckroat tied for the top spot in his first varsity tournament in March, then won the next event. He’s been in the top five at nearly every high school tournament he played this spring.
But Tuesday was by far his most impressive performance as a Husky. His round of 71 was the only under-par round by any player in the three-round tournament.
Eckroat looks the part of a high school freshman, with his braces, skinny build and unruly tufts of brown hair sticking out under his Edmond North hat.
But his game is all grown up. Poised and confident on the course, Eckroat has a knack for keeping the ball down the middle, a quality that served him well on the narrow fairways of Karsten Creek.
“I have a lot of confidence, but I was pretty nervous today,” Eckroat said with a laugh. “I hit the ball pretty straight, so I thought this could be a good tournament for me. A lot of kids have to hit 3-woods and irons off the tee to keep it straight, but I was able to hit driver.
“I really like this golf course.”
With all five players finishing in the top seven individually, Edmond North nearly doubled its two-round lead of 30 strokes, winning its 10th consecutive team title by a total of 57 shots over Edmond Memorial.
But Eckroat was the story on Tuesday at a place where he hopes to be a big story for years to come. The 15-year-old has already verbally committed to Oklahoma State.
Eckroat becomes Edmond North’s seventh individual state champion, but just the second player to win it during the Huskies’ 10 straight team championships, joining 2006-07 winner Kevin Tway.
“Austin’s very confident. He feels like he’s got the shot, he can hit the shot,” Edmond North coach Jeff Doherty said. “He just finds a way to not let the score get away from him. It’s just nuts how accurate he is.
“We knew right away that he was special. I felt in my heart that if he hit the ball straight and didn’t make big mistakes, he could be one of the four or five guys who could win this tournament. And he did it.”