Memorial boys get another shot at state golf title

Last year at the UIL State Golf Tournament, Memorial’s men’s team came second to Austin Westlake. Two weeks ago, the Mustangs qualified for a second straight year, finishing second to Kingwood by just one stroke in regionals.

The second is good. But that’s not the position the Mustangs are seeking for the 2022 Class 6A tournament, which runs Monday through Tuesday at Legacy Hills Golf Club.

“I have the most confidence with my guys,” Memorial coach Clayton Brady said. “Golf speaks for itself, but they’re just fun to be around. I’ll take my team on anyone. The opportunity to play (Georgetown) in the state championship is what you want.

Memorial and Kingwood are joined in the 12-team tournament by Region III representative Cypress Creek and non-Region II representatives The Woodlands and College Park.

“I’m proud of our seniors, they have guts, which I think makes us dangerous at the state championship,” Brady said. “We have a lot of experience there, we like the golf course.”

Memorial has a group of talented seniors in Preston Rouse, Walker Bergen and Tyler Gardner, as well as sophomores David Martinez and Charlie Wylie. Sophomore Gray Gammill qualified for the Mustangs as an individual.

At the Eagle Pointe Golf Club regionals in Mont Belvieu, Wylie tied for third. He played the last three holes in 2 under the lead of the Mustangs’ second day charge which was just before Kingwood.

Earlier this season, Memorial placed second at the state preview tournament in Legacy Hills.

As Region III champions, Kingwood comes into the picture with momentum and confidence. Holding off Memorial and beating the Mustangs for the first time this season energized Kingwood ahead of the two-day 36-hole tournament in Georgetown.

“Winning (at regionals) was an incredible bonus,” Kingwood coach Jeff Bellnap said.

Kingwood’s contingent is made up of three seniors and two juniors. Senior Luke Lohman played as an individual as a rookie, but this year’s squad will make their first appearance as an in-state team.

“It’s going to be a new experience for everyone, but we’re going to go out there and do what we can do,” Kingwood’s Jackson Becker said.

Becker’s teammate Brooks Pawlak added: “We all love the course. It’s our first time in the state, but we can all play well on this course. We’re going to go out there and try to do something. We can give it a run. Memorial got second place in the state last year, beating them was huge.

Cypress Creek punched its ticket to the state by finishing third at Eagle Pointe. The Cougars’ 1-2 junior duo of Rex Hargrove and Braeden Hoyt finished 1-2 respectively at regionals.

Hargrove and Hoyt also stood out on last year’s team. The Cougars as a team return to the state for the second straight year.

“We’ve got a group of experienced guys and we’re all ready to go back and show what we’ve got,” said Hargrove, who won the individual regional championship by two strokes over Hoyt.

The Woodlands captured the Region II title, beating second-placed Mansfield by 13 strokes at Bear Ridge Golf Club in Waco. All five Highlanders finished in the top 10 – Zach Morvant (2), Alex Papayoanou, (5), Will Jordan (5), Daniel Zou (9) and Jake Lile (10). Papayoanou, Jordan and Lile return from last year’s team that placed fourth in the state.

District 13-6A champion Bowen Ballis leads College Park, which qualified a team to declare for the first time.

Montgomery, along with Montgomery Lake Creek, have qualified for the 5A Boys State Championship which will be played at White Wing Golf Course on the same dates as the 6A competition.