STILLWATER — After one round of play in the Class 6A boys golf state tournament, seven-time defending state champion Edmond North found itself down three shots to rival Edmond Memorial.
Then the North duo of Hayden Wood and Nick Heinen went to work.
Wood and Heinen combined to shoot 7-under par in the second round, propelling North to a score of 593 through 36 holes and a 12-stroke lead on Memorial heading into Tuesday's final round at Karsten Creek.
“Those kids are (Division-I), big-time players and they came through in a big-time way,” North coach Jeff Doherty said. “I actually said (to the rest of the team), ‘If you guys just hang in there, one and two are tearing it up.' That kind of pepped them up a little bit.”
Wood and Heinen are also part of a three-way tie for first in the individual standings with Memorial's Taylor Moore, who has won back-to-back state titles. All three shot an even 144 through two rounds.
Heinen, who shot a 3-under 69 in the second round, said the difference for him the second time through the course was better putting and erasing the mistake of a triple bogey on No. 15. Wood, who led the field with a 4-under 68, did not bogey any holes in the second round and finished with a bang when he eagled No. 18.
“Coach came by and told us the team really needed a birdie,” Wood said. “I had a good yardage, and the wind kind of stopped it right on the right part of the green. So I just gave myself an uphill putt and I gave it a good roll and it went in.”
Jenks sits in third place in the team standings with a score of 620. After that, just nine strokes separate fourth-place Edmond Santa Fe (630) and seventh-place Broken Arrow (639).
Individually, Santa Fe's Max McGreevy (plus-1 145) and Broken Arrow's Tate Williamson (plus-2 146) will likely be the biggest challengers to the trio tied atop of the leaderboard on Tuesday.
Memorial had the upper hand through the first 18 holes, as Ty Tamura was the only player in the field to shoot under par (71). Moore turned in an even 72.
Moore held steady with another 72 in the second round, but the team shot 13 strokes higher overall.
“We struggled a little bit around the greens and on the greens,” Memorial coach Scott McDonald said. “The putts that were falling before maybe were not falling for us in the second round. Our second shots weren't what they were in the first round.”
Both Wood and Heinen said they do not feel pressure as North goes for its eighth consecutive team state championship. After all, it had to overcome a five-stroke deficit on the final day to win last season's title.
This time, North has a comfortable lead. And Doherty said his squad is going to play smart — and somewhat conservatively — to preserve that advantage.
“They've got to make up a lot of shots (to catch up),” Doherty said of the competition. “As good of players as they are, they're coachable. The goal each hole is to make par. And if you can't make par, you make bogey at worst.”