The Edmond Sun

Sports

May 13, 2014

Edmond North trots on home for 10th straight golf state title

Husky freshman Eckroat nips teammate Wood by 1 stroke for medalist honors

STILLWATER — During the medal ceremony Tuesday afternoon at the Class 6A state golf championships at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Owasso’s No. 1 player, Casey Paul, who fired a 73 in the second 18 Monday said: “They (Edmond North) won by 57 strokes. That’s not even fair.

“It’s a whole different level of golf.”

And it was on a different level. The Huskies won their 10th consecutive golf championship and the competition was really buried on Monday. North cleared second-place Edmond Memorial 900-957 with Edmond Santa Fe in sixth with a 970.

“I know how cool it is (to win 10 successive 6A state titles),” Edmond North head coach Jeff Doherty said after the awards ceremony. “But when you look down and read about it, you sit back and say, ‘Oh my gosh.’”

Husky senior Hayden Wood held a 5-stroke lead on teammate freshman Austin Eckroat going into the final 18, but Eckroat is much more mature than his 15-year-old face indicates and fired a 1-under par 71 to skim the talented Wood by a single shot for the individual championship.

“I hit some balls with the driver this morning and a I got a good rhythm going for the day,” Eckroat said from improving from shooting a 77 and a 75 during the first 36 holes to a blistering 71 for the state crown. Eckroat accumulated a 223 followed by Wood (72-75-77—224), Norman North’s Thomas Johnson (75-74-78—227), Muskogee’s Spencer Smythe (75-74-79—228), Edmond North’s Nick Heinen (77-72-80—229), Edmond North’s Griffin Pierce (77-79-75—231), Edmond Memorial’s Jacob Bishop (81-75-78—234) and Edmond North’s Tyson Reeder (75-74-85—234).

“I think I had a shot on this golf course,” said Eckroat, having to make up at least 5 strokes on Wood on the final 18. “Three-stroke swings can happen easily out here.

“(on the 18th fairway) Told me I was 2-up.”

With Wood coming in behind, Eckroat knew his fellow Husky had to make eagle on the 18th to tie when he was lining up his putt. He didn’t see Wood miss the fairway with his tee shot so he asked if the putt was for eagle or birdie.

It was for birdie, and a good thing for Eckroat because Wood nailed the putt but missed the individual title by a single stroke.

“I always thought they (the North upperclassmen) were always good,” Eckroat noted. “But I play with them in the summer and I kept up with them.”

Eckroat has playing golf since he was 4 years old, taught by his father, Steve, who played collegiately at Oklahoma City University.

“One (thing about Eckroat), he has a very confident cockiness,” Doherty said of how the Husky freshman plotted the course en route to the individual state crown. “It’s not a cockiness that makes the seniors mad, just a confidence stepping up and hitting a shot.

“It’s nuts how accurate he is.”

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