Edmond North coach Jeff Doherty said he was most proud of his team for not deviating from its game plan on its way to winning its eighth consecutive state title in convincing fashion on Tuesday at the Class 6A state golf tournament at Karsten Creek in Stillwater.
After building a 12-stroke advantage through the first two rounds, Doherty wanted his players to simply go for par on Tuesday instead of trying for “hero shots.”
That same rule applied to Nick Heinen and Hayden Wood, who were both in serious contention for medalist honors.
“They told me on the way up here, ‘Coach, we're not going to do anything that's going to jeopardize the team score,' ” Doherty said.
After nine holes, a team victory was all but clinched for North. So Doherty told Wood and Heinen they could go for the individual win and that he would help them — with one condition.
“If you guys are tied coming down the 18th hole, I'm going to stay out of sight,” Doherty told them.
Heinen finished one stroke behind medalist Max McGreevy of Edmond Santa Fe, while Wood finished fourth with a 3-over 219.
North had four players — Heinen, Wood, Sam Humphreys and Michael Hampton — finish in the top 10. North's final team score of 894 was 27 strokes ahead of runner-up Memorial.
TAYLOR MOORE EMOTIONAL AS CAREER ENDS
As Edmond Memorial's Taylor Moore walked off the 18th green, coach Scott McDonald was waiting to give his top player a giant hug.
That moment marked the end of a stellar high school career — but not the one Moore had hoped for.
“I was just disappointed with how I finished,” Moore said. “I got a little emotional. I tried not to, but I care about this game so much. I want to win so bad, and it didn't happen.
Still, Moore was able to reflect on the positives of his four years at Memorial, where he won the individual state title as a sophomore and junior, became the fourth-ranked junior golfer in the country by Golf Week and signed to play at Arkansas.
His favorite moment? Winning that first state championship.
“That kind of set my steppingstone for the rest of my junior career and ended up boosting me to get a college scholarship and continuing on in this game” he said.
DRIVING DISTANCE KEY FOR WOOD'S GROWTH
Last season, Wood was North's “sixth man,” a player who didn't even participate in the state tournament.
Now he's North's No. 1 player and finished in the top 5 in the individual standings as a sophomore.
What changed from one year to the next?
“He just didn't hit the ball very far (last year),” Doherty said. “He's always been able to chip and putt, but when you're constantly hitting long irons into par 4s, it's a lot harder than the guys that are able to hit it high and stop it. This year, he's able to do that.
“Really, once he got the distance off the tee, it made him a stud.”
Seven of the top 10 individual finishers and three of the top four teams were all from Edmond.
What's in the water just north of OKC?
McGreevy isn't quite sure. But he said that type of close competition benefits all the area players.
“It just seems like there's always a lot of good kids there and they're always competing at the top,” he said. “It's fun because you get to play with them all the time, because they live right next to you. It's good competition.”
Lawton Eisenhower's Cullen Stahl was the top-scoring player that did not compete with a team, finishing just outside the top 10 with a 231. … Santa Fe won the Academic All-State award with a cumulative team G.P.A. of 3.856. … Moore and Michael Hampton were the West All-State selections, while Tulsa Union's Jason Goben and Ponca City's Eric Kline were the East's representatives