AUSTIN — Frenship junior Emiley Odom might have played more state-tournament rounds than any girl on the Jimmy Clay Golf Course this week — just not in the state of Texas.
Her experience as a state-level golfer in Missouri helped, but only so much.
Odom shot 80 on Monday, 81 on Tuesday — her two lowest state rounds ever — and finished tied for 16th in a field of 48 at the UIL Class 4A state tournament.
“It was good experience,” said Odom, who moved to West Texas from West Plains, Mo., in January. “I was real excited, because it’s bigger down here than it was in Missouri. I wasn’t really happy with my performance, that’s for sure, considering how I’d been playing, but there’s always next year.”
Odom was born and raised in Missouri, where the state tournament is played in the fall. She made it her freshman, sophomore and junior years — most recently in October, when she also finished in the top 20.
“It’s taken more seriously (in Texas),” she said. “In Missouri, they would take 120 girls, so it’s more of a special-type thing here, because it’s narrowed down to (about) 40. It’s a real honor to come to state here, whereas back home it was just another tournament because so many girls were there.”
Odom took second individually at the Region I-4A tournament two weeks ago in Abilene and said she played better this week than in her Missouri state tournaments. She said the competition was stronger, too, however.
“She’s been playing really well,” Frenship coach Roger Whipkey said. “We had high expectations coming into it. It’s always tough down there, but she played well. Just a couple of shots here and there that she probably wishes she had back, but it was a very solid performance — something to build on next year, for sure.”
Buda Hays junior Lindsey McCurdy, with whom Odom played on Monday, won state. McCurdy followed up a first-round 69 with a 73 to finish at 2 under par and win by a shot.
Montgomery won the team title by three shots over Region I champion Trophy Club Byron Nelson, and Austin Lake Travis was another six shots back in third.
The Frenship boys also finished up Tuesday, but went from striking distance, seven strokes back starting the day, to a seventh-place finish, 36 shots out. The Tigers were playing in the state tournament for the third year in a row, having finished eighth in 2010 and fourth in 2011.
On Tuesday, Frenship’s streak of shooting lower 18-hole scores four rounds in a row at state finally ended. The Tigers followed a 307 Monday with a 313.
“We struggled (Monday) and still posted a good score,” Frenship coach Roger Reding said. “Today we struggled and we didn’t post a score. We just were off a little bit, both days. We probably made more birdies than we have in a long time, but on top of that we had certain kids that had some big numbers on their card.”
Austin Lake Travis successfully defended the team title, shooting 288 in the final round for a 13-stroke victory. Highland Park, led by medalist winner Scottie Scheffler, placed second. Tying for third were Trophy Club Byron Nelson — which Frenship beat for the Region I-4A crown — and Montgomery, to whom the Tigers lost a playoff for third last year.
Jack Vanderburg capped a brilliant season with a 72-76—148 that tied the Frenship junior for 12th place. Junior Hunter Rawls placed 22nd with a 76-77—153.
Sophomore Josh Montoya shot 80-78—158. Seniors Chad Meador (83-82—165) and Jace Foster (79-88—167) rounded out the Tigers’ contingent.
Frenship’s team score of 620 was actually better than last year’s 622, but Reding said he thought it was the most talented field the Tigers had encountered at state.
“Those top six teams are really, really talented,” Reding said. “We needed to be our best to get ourselves into the top three or four, and we were not our best by any means the last two days.”