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Jenks Gazette

Lauren Behnken Leads the Way for Lady Trojans

GTR Sports Writer

JENKS ACE: Jenks’ golfer Lauren Behnken makes a putt on the green during a tournament.

Courtesy Willie Braggs III

One of the leading contenders for the Class 6A state championship in girls’ golf in May is Jenks.

Leading the way for the Lady Trojans is Lauren Behnken who recently signed to play college golf at Oklahoma City University.

Jenks is off to a good start, placing first in three tournaments and a runner-up finish in its own event at South Lakes Golf Course. Jenks took second with 323 shots, nine more than Bixby (314), who took the championship and is one of the two teams expected to contend with the Lady Trojans for the state championship. The other is Edmond North.

Behnken tied for fourth with Bixby’s Natalie Gough with each golfer carding 77 strokes.   “My drives were pretty good,” Behnken says. “My ball striking could have been better and my putting…I left a few putts out there I should have made. But, overall, it was a pretty good day with the cold and a little bit of wind.”

Behnken has played the links for six years. She loves that golf is an individual, yet, also a team sport.

“You can go out there and shoot not so great as an individual, but your team may have a good score and the team can still place really good,” she says.
A bad shot never gets Behnken down.

“I’m very focused on my golf swing and when I’m hitting, I don’t let the bad shots affect my future shots,” she says. “So, I just put those bad shots and bad holes out of my mind, so I can move forward.   

The small-school atmosphere and coach Marty McCauley is what drew Behnken to OCU.

“I felt like he can help me improve my game, mentally,” Behnken says.

Although Behnken is competing against Gough and Rachel Eckert, another Bixby player, she will be teammates with both next year at OCU.

“I feel like it’s going to be a really good team because we’re competing against each other this year and we already know each other, and I feel like next year, when we go play as a team, we’ll be really strong,” Behnken says.

She’s met up with current OCU golfers too.

“I’ve been up there a couple of times and have talked with the girls and hung out with them a little bit, just to meet them and get adjusted to going there next year,” she adds.

In the meantime, Behnken and the Lady Trojans are focused on their ultimate plan.
“These girls have put in a lot of time, effort, practiced and played through all kinds of weather,” Jenks coach Vicki Hughes says. “We have a lot of talent in our top five girls and we have the potential to win state.”

“We have three juniors that are pretty good and one freshman that is doing good this year for her first year,” Behnken says. “We are hoping for two 70s and at least three 80s at state, just so we can have a good chance at winning state. But I feel like we’re still going to have to work hard to win state.”

Hughes has watched her golfers develop since she took over the program four years ago.

“Their strengths are they can shoot consistently in the 70s and that is something we are consistently working on,” Hughes says. “They’re maturing, learning a lot more in course management and are adapting very well. In golf, it’s all about the mental game and they are starting to see it’s all about that second shot.

“I tell the girls, it’s early in the season, and it’s going to count come May,” Hughes adds. 

Updated 04-27-2018

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