Course time helped Kenny Okins during Thursday’s Class 4A North sub-state at Silver Lakes, and White Plains coach Chris Randall hopes it counts for something big at next week’s state tournament.
A day after shooting a 74 in a U.S. Open qualifier at Silver Lakes, Okins shot a 3-under-par 69 on a shorter Silver Lakes to lead White Plains’ boys to an eight-stroke victory over Deshler.
Both teams qualified for next week’s state tournament at Robert Trent Jones-Magnolia Grove on Monday and Tuesday.
White Plains’ girls, meanwhile, edged Alexandria by two strokes in the 4A-5A North sub-state at Silver Lakes, and both teams advanced to state.
Randall took both of his teams to Magnolia Grove during spring break this year.
“We went down there for three days during spring break with the hope and expectation that we'll make it back,” Randall said. “I hope it will pay off for us.”
Thursday’s sub-states were originally scheduled for Tuesday, but inclement weather and Wednesday’s U.S. Open qualifier forced them to Thursday. Okins played in that event against professional and Division I college players.
He also played Silver Lakes tweaked for U.S. Open qualifying specs, which meant fast greens and more distance.
“They played it so long yesterday, and he was tough and consistent,” Randall said. “To play shorter distance today, felt really confident.”
Okins’ confidence showed in how well he stayed out of trouble. He edged Deshler’s Luke Linley by one stroke for low medalist.
“It was just a mechanical, efficient 69,” Randall said. “If there’s such thing as a boring 69, that was it.”
White Plains’ Peyton Bradley and Gage Miller each shot 78, and Sawyer Edwards shot 79 to round out the Wildcats’ team score of 304.
“Gage is playing his best golf of the year,” Randall said. “Being able to count one in the 60s and three in the 70s, to do that on a course like Silver Lakes, that’s strong.
“We haven’t played our best round yet. I still feel like there's a 295 in us.”
Abby Gattis led White Plains’ girls with a 14-over-par 86 to tie Fairview’s Brileigh Roberts and Guntersville’s Hope Harrell for third place. Alexandria’s Emma Ray took medalist at 83, one stroke better than Savannah Sandlin.
Randall called the Wildcats’ battle with Alexandria “a back-and-forth grind.”
“We just wanted to survive and advance,” Randall said. “The fact we made it to state is a nice accomplishment for the girls, but it never felt comfortable.”
Baylie Webb shot an 89 and Isabel Rogers a 91 to round out White Plains’ scorers.
Alexandria’s Lauren Sechrest shot 87, and Reagan Finley added a 98.
"The girls have battled with White Plains all year, and Emma has finished in the top three or four about everywhere we've been this year," Alexandria coach Craig Kiker said. "Her winning isn't a surprise to me. She deserved it, and I'm very proud.