By JASON GORDON
When Hays junior Lindsey McCurdy sank a 40-foot birdie putt on hole No. 3 in the first round of the UIL State Class 4A Golf Tournament Monday at Jimmy Clay Golf Course in Austin, she thought it might be a pretty good sign of things to come.
It turned out she was right.
McCurdy finished her final round early Tuesday and held off a late afternoon charge from Northwest Byron Nelson High School’s Maty Monzingo to win the UIL State Class 4A Golf title.
After shooting a 3-under 69 Monday, McCurdy found birdies harder to come by on Tuesday, and carded a 1-over 73 to finish the tournament with a two-day total of 2-under 142.
That opened the door for Monzingo, who rallied with six birdies on Tuesday and actually led McCurdy by two shots with two holes to play. But Monzingo made bogey on the 352-yard par-4 No. 8. She then pushed her tee shot past the out of bounds fence on No. 9, as her ball landed in the driving range to the right of the fairway on her final hole of the day.
Monzingo gave herself a chance to force a playoff for the state title with McCurdy, but she missed an 8-foot putt for bogey on the par-4 to finish the day with a score of 2-under 70, and a two-day total of 1-under 143.
“I knew Monzingo had a big chance to win, but you also have to play well under pressure,” McCurdy said. “If you can’t, you’re not going to win. That last hole was pretty nerve wracking. On the last putt, I just turned my back and didn’t watch. When she missed my friends all came up to me and congratulated me on winning state.”
McCurdy became Hays’ first state champion in any sport other than track and field since the school opened in 1968.
“It feels great to represent my school,” she said. “To be able to say I’m one of just a few that have done something is a very cool experience.”
Only Chuck Ables (high jump, 1978), Whitney Dill (1,600-meter run, 1999), Helen Breyfogle (high jump, 2000), Britni Lawrence (pole vault, 2002 and 2003), and Jessica Doyle (pole vault, 2007 and 2008) have ever won state titles in Hays High School history before McCurdy claimed another gold medal for the Rebels on Tuesday.
McCurdy beat out 50 of the state’s best golfers, with her steady play keying the victory. She had a total of five birdies over the two days, six fewer than Monzingo, but McCurdy only had three bogies the entire tournament. Monzingo had six bogies and two double bogies combined Monday and Tuesday.
“There may have been other players with more birdies, but Lindsey put 15 pars on the board on day two at state and that’s tough to do,” said Hays coach Danny Preuss. “I’ve had other coaches come up to me and tell me she’s the most consistent high school player they’ve ever seen.”
McCurdy, who will compete in some of the top state and national junior amateur tournaments this summer, is already focusing on repeating as Class 4A state champion during her senior season.
“Winning one state title is great, but winning two is even tougher,” McCurdy said. “Defending my state championship will definitely be a goal next year.”