Edmond Santa Fe's Max McGreevy had a breakout performance at last year's Class 6A state tournament, topping two-time defending individual champion Taylor Moore of Edmond Memorial to take medalist honors.
That success has rolled into 2013, with McGreevy leading by one stroke following the first two rounds at Karsten Creek.
McGreevy said that victory gave him confidence entering Day 1.
“I feel like I don't have as much pressure on myself to win this time,” he said. “I have it under my belt, so I can kind of just free-will it and just let it happen like it should.
“I made a bunch of pars today. Just hit a bunch of greens. Probably left quite a few shots out there, but all in all, a pretty solid day to start it off.”
NINTH CONSECUTIVE TITLE ‘A BIG DEAL' TO EDMOND NORTH
Edmond North's Nick Heinen recently created a #9peat hashtag on Twitter to symbolize the school's quest for a ninth consecutive state championship.
And to symbolize how important it is to those five players.
“You don't want to be the team that messes up the streak,” he said. “It's pretty important. It's a big deal to us.”
NORMAN NORTH'S JOHNSON MAKES BIG JUMP IN SOPHOMORE SEASON
Perhaps the biggest rising star in the field is Norman North's Thomas Johnson, who tallied the best score of the first round with a 4-under 68 and is in medalist contention heading into Tuesday's final round. He is tied for third with a 1-under 143 and is two shots off the lead.
As a freshman last year, his final score was 78-77-77.
What was the biggest key to the 10-stroke improvement on the first 18 holes?
“I feel like I've gained a lot of distance,” he said. “It helps me with going for more shots and more greens. (The first round) felt good. I was making every putt I looked at.”
And Johnson doesn't feel pressure being among leaderboard staples like McGreevy, Heinen, Edmond North's Hayden Wood, Jenks' Brendon Jelley and Edmond Memorial's Ty Tamura entering the final round.
“Just kind of take it as it comes,” he said of his plan for Tuesday. “Just take the pars. Even will be good.”
NO HOME COURSE ADVANTAGE FOR STILLWATER'S TROY FORT
Stillwater's Troy Fort was in friendly territory, playing at hometown course Karsten Creek.
But that doesn't mean the course was familiar. In fact, Fort had never played it until Friday.
“It was great,” he said of the chance to play at Oklahoma State's home course. “If you're a guy from Stillwater, this is where you want to come play, because it is the place of golf.”
Fort fought through a stress fracture in his left foot to finish Day 1 with a 33-over 177. He called the second round “a struggle” but felt he learned plenty about Karsten Creek that he can use during Tuesday's final round.
“You kind of just have to survive the front nine,” he said. “The 7-8-9 are brutally tough holes. You've just got to get through those tough holes, and then it opens up on the back a little bit.
“Definitely (have to) keep it below the hole. There are a few holes where I went for a shot here or there that I probably shouldn't have. Certain shots can compound really badly on you here at this course. One can just stack on top of another on top of another.”