GIRLS GOLF: Serrano wants to show Permian’s strength as lone Lady Panther competing at regional tournament

Permian head girls golf coach Rodney Roman glanced at a nearby TV in the clubhouse at Ratliff Ranch Golf Links.

He was talking about what separates good golfers from great ones and said that the mental part of the game is the main difference.

He said those playing at the PGA’s Valero Texas Open in San Antonio last week are the few that have mastered that skill.

That’s been the focus of Permian senior Emily Serrano, who has been waiting nearly a month for her next chance to compete.

Serrano will be the lone Lady Panther at the Region I-6A Tournament at Tierra Verde Golf Club in Arlington. The first round is Wednesday, with the final round taking place Thursday.

“I’m excited, just going in with a lot of confidence just because I know I can compete on that level,” Serrano said. “I want to go represent my team and show those other teams what Permian’s made of.”

The Lady Panthers finished in third place at the District 2-6A Tournament, falling three strokes out of a team trip to the regional tournament, ending a streak of several years in a row that the Permian girls had sent a team to the regional tournament, Roman said.

Serrano qualified as a medalist for the tournament by shooting a 76 at the district tournament. She’ll need to be one of the top three individuals not on a team advancing to state to qualify for the Class 6A championship in Georgetown in May.

“I know she can,” Roman said about Serrano’s chances of qualifying for the state tournament. “She’s one of those competitive kids that you got to love to have because no matter what, she’s going to give it everything she’s got no matter what. I really feel she has a really good shot of actually going to that next tournament.”

Serrano’s focus on the mental part of the game over the last month comes from knowing that she won’t have her teammates by her side for one of the first times in her high school career.

“You don’t have the four other support systems right there behind you, so I mean that’s kind of sad,” Serrano said. “I know that the girls are rooting for me back home.”

Both Roman and Serrano haven’t seen Tierra Verde before. When they arrived for Serrano’s practice round on Tuesday, the Permian duo will do a ton of homework to prep for the 36 holes ahead of them.

“I know it’s going to be difficult,” Serrano said. “Bigger city, harder course — I’m excited. I like a challenge.”

Par at Tierra Verde is 72, which means Serrano will have to play her best golf of the season to continue her Permian career to state. Serrano will play for UTPB in the fall, but wants as much time left in a Permian uniform as possible.

“Physically, she’s capable of hitting it with anybody,” Roman said about Serrano. “It’s just every typical golfer; the mental part is what affects everybody’s play.”

Serrano will have Roman by her side in Arlington, walking at each step of the regional tournament with her. They hope to do the same May 21 and 22 at Legacy Hills Golf Club in Georgetown.