GIRLS GOLF: Odessa High provides strong showing during second round to win ECISD Tournament

During its previous two tournaments, the Odessa High girls golf team has searched for second-round consistency.

The Lady Bronchos posted a higher team score on the final day of the San Angelo Classic and Tall City Invitational in Midland.

Those troubles didn’t show up on their home course as the Lady Bronchos improved 29 strokes from the opening round to win the ECISD Girls Golf Tournament on Saturday at the Ratliff Ranch Golf Links.

“The last two tournaments that we’ve been in, we’ve put ourselves in a good position on the first day and we haven’t played well the second day,” Odessa High head coach Berry Borchardt said. “We’ve really worked hard mentality and physically to get to that position where we would have a good second day.”

Odessa High posted a two-round total of 675 (352-323). Midland Lee finished runner-up 694 (361-333) and El Paso Coronado took third 701 (371-330).

Hailey Cernoch, a junior, knew the Lady Bronchos had the ability to shoot lower on the second day and that belief became a reality when she visited with her teammates after their respective rounds.

“I didn’t reach my expectations as an individual, but the team together we played really well,” said Cernoch, who finished in third with a 162 (87-75). “I believe the girls can do this every time they go out and play. They just have to put in the practice.”

Odessa High finished with three golfers in the top 10. Cernoch placed third, while Aumbree Cox and Catlyn Thomas took eighth and ninth, respectively. Cox shaved off six strokes from her opening round with a two-day total of 166 (86-80) and Thomas finished with a two-shot improvement 168 (85-83).

“We come out and play all the time, so we know where we should be and the scores we should be shooting,” Borchardt said. “We haven’t done that consistently. This is the first weekend we’ve done that. When they do that, it gives them the desire to want to focus and play better. That’s one of the things that we had going for us today.”

Midland Lee’s Rebecca Reed ran away with the individual medalist title. The Lady Rebels’ sophomore supplied a seven-under 65 during the second round to finish with a two-round total of 139. Reed topped runner-up Midland High’s Faith DeLaGarza by 13 strokes.

Permian hasn’t had trouble closing out tournaments. The Lady Panthers have a tough time finding a groove in the opening round.

Including the ECISD Tournament, the Lady Panthers hit 77 more strokes in the opening round than the final 18 holes. Permian improved 43 strokes Saturday, but it wasn’t enough to catch Odessa High, Midland Lee or El Paso Coronado. The Lady Panthers placed fourth 703 (373-330).

“We have to put two rounds together,” Permian head coach Rodney Roman said. “That’s our struggle right now. It’s a lot of losing a little bit of focus when we are out on the course. We are learning and we are getting there, but it’s trying to get those two rounds together.”

Briana Venegas and Emily Serrano each finished with a two-round total of 164. Venegas — who is the team’s lone senior — had rounds of 86 and 78, while Serrano posted an 84 and 80.

“It’s like I talked with them, ‘Your experience needs to rub off on the underclassmen,’ so the underclassmen can get a good understanding of what’s really happening in events like this,” Roman said about Venegas and Serrano.

The Lady Bronchos and Lady Panthers each have one more event before the District 2-6A Tournament.

Odessa High and Permian will compete in the District 2-6A Preview on March 24 and 25 at Diamondback Golf Club in Abilene.

“They can’t think that we have it in the bag already,” Cernoch said about the District 2-6A Tournament. “We still have to get out and work. We can’t just go and win it. We have to put in the work, so we can be ready and be consistent and have the confidence that we can do it.”

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