HIGH SCHOOL GOLF: Andrews preparing for state

If this season was considered a rebuilding year for the Andrews boys golf team, then the rest of Class 4A might need to watch out next spring.

That’s not to say the Mustangs aren’t already one of the teams to watch out for at this year’s golf state championships.

Next week, the Mustangs will compete at the Class 4A Boys State Championship May 22-23 at Legends Golf Course in Kingsland.

This year’s Andrews team doesn’t have any seniors on it.

That didn’t stop the Mustangs from winning another Region I title last month.

“It’s really good,” Andrews boys golf head coach Jeff Williamson said. “We have a couple of kids who have never played so we have some young kids. We don’t have any seniors. We’ve grown a lot this year. We didn’t know how good we were going to be. We started playing really well at regionals and won the regional championship. Hopefully, we can keep growing all the way into state.”

At last month’s regional tournament in Lubbock, the Mustangs posted a team score of 299-296—595.

Andrews took the title by two strokes, edging out Canyon Randall who finished 304-293—597.

“I thought our mental presence was the best,” Williamson said. “There are some tough situations at that golf course like the greens and some of the fairways and things like that and we never looked back. If we had a bad break, we just kept moving forward. I thought we handled that course well, mentally and as well as we could.”

Andrews golfer Jack Burgen gets ready to putt during practice last month at Andrews Golf Course. Michael Bauer|Odessa American

Brownwood finished third overall with 305-307—612.

Williamson knows the Mustangs will have to watch out for Randall and Brownwood, once again, at next week’s championships.

“Canyon Randall is good,” Williamson said. “We only beat them by two at regionals. They have a fine team. Brownwood is going to be there and they’re pretty good. Wimberly is pretty good. It’s going to be a shootout. There are like seven good teams which is how it should be at state.”

The Mustangs finished fourth as a team last year at state. After losing three seniors, Andrews had some rebuilding to do.

However, after a few learning curves early in the season, the Mustangs were able to find their footing, winning the district and regional meets.

“We really matured,” Williamson said. “We had our two best golfers return and they didn’t know how to lead because they were young and then we’ve had a bunch of youngsters who have found their way into the game with their swing and their mental attitude. That’s what’s helped us grow a lot this year. we had three or four tournaments this year where we didn’t play well at all but all that was a learning experience and we did well at district and regionals.”

Jorge Molinar led the team at regionals with a score of 72-70—142, finishing second overall as an individual.

“My short game was going amazing,” Molinar said of his performance at regionals. “I didn’t play as well as I wanted to. I didn’t hit the ball as well as I wanted to but my short game saved me. That’s the most important part.”

Jack Burgen was second on the team with a score of 74-72—146.

Andrews golfer Jack Burgen putts during practice last month at the Andrews Golf Course. Michael Bauer|Odessa American

“We’re pretty excited that we get to go back to state,” Burgen said. “Hopefully, we can do a little bit better than last year.”

Tucker Smith went 75-76—151 at regionals while Miken Hernandez went 78-78—156 and Maddix Valenzuela went 83-82—165.

As the Mustangs go for their first state championship since 2015, Williamson is excited about the future of the program.

“We’re all excited about it,” Williamson said. “We had three good seniors last year. We saw what they did last year. We learned from them. We’ve had good leaders this year. They’ve played well this year. We have a great junior high program too. Our program is pretty strong for the future.”