EDMOND — Edmond North golfer Sam Humphreys shot a two-round total of 1-over-par 141 to finish in a tie for fourth place at the Edmond Memorial Bulldog Invitational at Kickingbird Golf Club on Tuesday.
He has already signed a letter of intent with the University of Tulsa.
He could’ve spent his entire high school career as the No. 1 player for about 95 percent of the high school teams in the state.
Instead, he’s in a constant battle just to crack the top five at Edmond North.
That’s how deep the nine-time defending champion Huskies are this year. Their sixth man is a Division I golfer.
Two players — Nick Heinen and Hayden Wood — have signed with Oklahoma State. Griffin Pierce is headed to OU. Junior Tyson Reeder is bound for big-time college golf as well.
Then there’s the freshman. Austin Eckroat is already making history for an historically powerful team. Through his first five tournaments, Eckroat has won once, tied for first at another tournament and taken second at two more.
“We’re all pretty competitive with each other, but especially with the freshman. We’ve gotta stop him from winning everything,” Pierce said with a laugh.
With so much talent, the question becomes, is this the best Edmond North team we’ve seen?
Not yet, says Heinen, pointing back to the teams of the mid-2000s led by Robert Streb and Kevin Tway, both of whom are on the PGA Tour now.
“Since my freshman year, we’ve gotten better every year, and this is definitely the best team since I’ve been here,” said Heinen, whose older brother, Alec was in the program at the end of Tway’s run. “But we’re not as good as those guys. If we play well, we can be, but they were way more consistent. Those guys never played bad.”
Of course, the Huskies aren’t competing against the teams of the past. Their focus is on the pursuit of their 10th straight Class 6A title.
“You don’t want to be the team that doesn’t keep the streak going,” Heinen said. “Most of us have been through the state tournament two or three times, except for Eckroat. So we’re used to the pressure. We just want to keep the streak going.”
Having played a very competitive junior golf schedule, Eckroat came into the season prepared for the pressure he would face at the varsity level.
“I was playing really good over the summer, and I got off to a real good start,” he said. “The guys have been really good to me, even though I’m a freshman. That’s what keeps pushing this team. There’s always a younger kid who can beat the older guys and they don’t want to lose to the younger kid, so they keep trying to get better.”
The competition within the team has been one of the key factors in Humphreys building his career to the level where he could earn a Division I opportunity and be prepared for the future.
“I think this has been more like a college golf setting, like what we’re going to face next year,” he said. “If you’re somewhere where you’re never being pushed, and thinking you’re some great thing, it’ll be a shock when you get to college and you’re competing for a job.
“I’m playing with five other guys who are gonna be Division I golfers, and it’s given me experience that I wouldn’t have had at another school.”