GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL GOLF: Andrews celebrates first state title in four years

KINGSLAND For four years, the Andrews girls golf team had won almost every trophy possible except for the one that mattered the most; the state championship.

That all finally changed this week.

The Lady Mustangs added another successful chapter to its program by winning the Class 4A State Championship Tuesday at the Legends Golf Course in Kingsland.

“These girls, they get to play for Andrews and they’re quite familiar with the championships of the past and this is their first time being on one of those championship teams so it was really fun to see them celebrate and win a state championship,” Andrews head coach Mark Burgen said.

It was the first state championship for the Lady Mustangs since 2019 and they didn’t have much trouble winning it.

The team went 309-315—624 to finish 42 strokes ahead of second place Canyon (340-326—666).

For seniors Kyleigh McGowen and Peighton Manning, it was big way to end their high school careers as they finally get to say they were a part of a state championship team at Andrews.

“That’s always special to know that they left the program that they’ve been working on for six years and hoping to get one of these and seeing them finish off their senior seasons with a state title, it’s a big joy to me,” Burgen said.

However, it was sophomore Emme Darnold who led the Lady Mustangs, individually, as she placed fourth overall, going 74-78—152.

McGowen, who will be playing at the collegiate level at New Mexico Junior College next year, finished eighth, going 77-77-154.

“It means a lot, especially since it’s my senior year,” McGowen said. “It’s a big deal knowing that we got our reputation back on track.”

Senior Peighton Manning finished 10th overall with her score of 76-80—156.

“It means everything. To do it together just makes it special. I couldn’t have wished to do it with people better than this team. I’m so happy.”

Emma Carrasco finished tied for 17th overall at 83-80—163 along with her teammate Zoe Woemmel who went 82-81—163.

It didn’t take very long at the Class 4A state championships to determine who the best team was.

The Lady Mustangs set the tone early, finishing the first day of the tournament with a score of 309- a good 31 strokes ahead of second place Canyon.

In fact, the only thing standing in the Lady Mustangs’ way was possible inclement weather as Burgen was worried about running into rain delays.

“One of the things that I spoke to the girls candidly about was that we were under a threat of bad weather for two days,” Burgen said. “There was no guarantee that we could finish 36 holes or 18 holes and we talked about how important it was to get off to a fast start and ride that momentum and if we happened to have weather delays, let’s make sure we have a lead before it happens. They did a good job of that. Better than expected, to be honest.”

Fortunately, there were no weather delays to deal with during the championships.

“We dodged a bullet,” Burgen said. “The weather skirted around us and dumped a lot on the course on Monday but luckily, we were already done.”

Going into Tuesday with a solid lead, the Lady Mustangs had a chance to match or beat the school’s record of the lowest score at state which currently stands at 618 that was set back in 2011.

“I tried to let them know about our golf history and what the greats before them have done,” Burgen said. “We had an opportunity to get the lowest state tournament score in the history of Andrews girls golf. We didn’t pull it off but that was the focus, going into Tuesday. If we were able to shoot lower than 309 today, then we could’ve beaten the total of 618 (set in 2011). Our total today was 624 and we missed it by six shots but it was still one of the lowest scores we’ve had so it’s still pretty good.”

For the seniors, all that matters is that they finally went out with a bang.

“It means everything to me,” Manning said. “To graduate and end this year with a state championship is something that I couldn’t wish for more.”

McGowen echoed those thoughts

“It feels amazing just knowing that we had actually won a state title,” McGowen said.

Davenport finished third at 345-332—677.

Canton took third at 340-343—683 and Lampasas was fifth at 345-345—690.

Seminole finished tied for sixth with Salado at 342-353—695.