Owasso Golf Takes Down Juggernaut for State Title
By Mike Moguin
GTR Sports Writer
Owasso wasn’t going to allow an opportunity to slip away this time, and it didn’t.
The Rams shot low in the second round which paved the way for them to capture the 2019 Class 6A boys golf championship on May 7 at Rose Creek Golf Club in Edmond. It was Owasso’s first title in four years and second in school history.
Perennial power Edmond North won the previous three, including last year when it won by 15 strokes over the Rams. It had won 13 championships in the previous 14 years. The only year Edmond North didn’t win was 2015, the year the Rams won their first title.
It appeared that Edmond North was on its way to another state title when it opened up a 14-shot lead on the Rams through the first 18 holes.
Edmond Memorial and Stillwater also stood in front. But an outstanding performance in the second round, in which Owasso carded 284, put the Rams out in front by two shots at the end of the day. The second round performance of 284 was the lowest number of shots for the tournament.
“They got the best of us for three years in a row and it was pretty fantastic when we were able to shoot a four-under-par score of 284 in the second round, having a two-shot lead going into the final round,” Owasso boys golf coach Corey Burd said. “It was unexpected and exciting.”
Owasso finished with a three-round score of 897 (304-290-309) and four-shot advantage over the Huskies, who finished 901 (290-300-311) swings. Freshman Ben Stoller led the Rams by tying for a seventh-place finish. He shot 223 (79-68-76), including a matching tournament-low round of 68 in the second round, matching the first round outing by Edmond North’s Jordan Wilson (68-70-75), who finished as top individual medalist with 213.
“I really got off to a good start in the second round,” Stoller said. “I birdied my second and third holes, I made really good putts, but I thought the key was that I didn’t miss a green my whole entire front nine, and I hit 14 out of 18 greens in that round. That was a big key for me to shoot 68. My irons were hitting the ball really well in that second round.”
In addition to the second and third holes, Stoller birdied on holes six, eight, nine and 15.
“I felt great,” Stoller said. “I knew after that first round, I had to focus on cutting the deficit in half. Once we came in and shot four under in that second round and took a one-shot lead in the final round, I thought that we really could win this. Going on the backside of that final round, I realized we were still in contention and said ‘okay, let’s do this.’ And then the second shot on the 18th, I knew all I had to do was put this one in and we win.”
And put it in, he did.
“I knew for certain it was a big deal,” Stoller said. “That had been our team’s No. 1 goal since we started school this year.”
Burd agrees that the second round was the highlight round for the Rams.
“Definitely. We had our freshman Ben Stoller, who shot 68, which is four under par. We had our sophomore Braden Lang shoot one under par, so yes, it was by far our best round of the season,” Burd said. “The other guys played fabulous as well.
“I think there were some nerves in the first round. We’re a young team, not particularly experienced at state tournaments,” Burd added. “We only had two starters returning from last year’s team and it’s a different kind of tournament. There are a lot more people watching. There are more fans, all the best teams are there, all the best players are there. So, I think there were some nerves there in the first round. But, after we saw the golf course once, we got a much better start and the kids were feeding off of each other and they were able to sustain it. They settled down and put it together in the second round.”
“It’s been pretty amazing how Edmond North has been able to dominate 6A boys golf,” Burd said. “In the last five years, we have won two state championships. We’re headed in the right direction as a program. We’re where I want us to be.”
All of Owasso’s starters will return next year, which provides solid ground for a repeat. Stoller, No. 1 bag, will be a sophomore. Lang, the No.4 bag, will be a junior. No. 2 bag Brett Wilcoxen, No. 3 bag Tyler Rhodes and No. 5 bag Antonio Gillestra will be seniors.
Track & Field Gold
Owasso had some gold medal winners in the Class 6A girls track and field meet on May 11 in Moore. Levi Gladd won the 400-meter run with a time of 56.83 and the Lady Rams’ 3,200-meter relay won their respective event with a time of 9:28.30.