By Ken MacLeod
BROKEN ARROW – When he took over as coach of the Owasso girls nine years ago, Ron Ramos couldnâ€™t field a full squad. Only three girls tried out for the team.
On Thursday, the ascension of Owasso as a golf powerhouse in Class 6A was completed. The boys ended the Edmond North reign last year, and now the Owasso girls have matched the feat, putting together a strong final round to win the first girls golf state title in school history.
The Rams, led by a career-best 74 by Faith Belmear and a career-best 76 by Katherine Horne, shot 316 in the second round to finish at 658, well ahead of first-round leader Norman at 675. Deer Creek was third at 682 and Broken Arrow fourth at 685. Defending champion Union was fifth at 690.
Freshman Yujeong Son of Norman began her quest for four consecutive state titles by holding off Broken Arrowâ€™s Taylor Dobson by three stokes. Son shot consecutive rounds of 2-over 72, while Dobson shot 75-72. The two were tied after nine holes, but Son played even-par golf over the final nine while Dobson had a few miscues.
Son, who is also the two-time defending Oklahoma Womenâ€™s State Amateur champion, wasnâ€™t particularly thrilled with her ball striking early.
â€œI really wanted to finish under par today, but I hit a few bad iron shots early and didnâ€™t make the 4 and 5-foot putts I was leaving myself. Still, Iâ€™m very happy. It seems like the school year just started and here we are at state already.â€
Dobson, a senior who is off to help rebuild the University of Tulsa womenâ€™s program in the fall, said she had a lot on her mind down the stretch and maybe didnâ€™t concentrate quite well enough to pull off the upset. Still, sheâ€™s played against Son in numerous junior events and now in this one year of high school competition and is still looking for her first victory.
â€œYujeong is a great player,â€ Dobson said. â€œI had a chance today but had a few poor shots coming in. I had a lot I was thinking about the last five or six holes, with my high school career ending.â€
Long-bomber Kaitlin Milligan of Norman North, who has signed with the University of Oklahoma, shot 73 in her final high school round to take third.
As for Owasso, the bustling city north of Tulsa has been buoyed by three successful golf courses in Bailey Ranch, the Owasso Golf & Athletic Club and The Patriot, and is showing signs of becoming a new golf power in the state. It was the eighth victory in 11 tournaments this spring for the team.
â€œI knew if we just relaxed and played like weâ€™re capable we would have a great chance today,â€ Ramos said. â€œAll the girls have averaged between 81 and 89 this year, so they can all play. To have two of them post their career-best rounds was fantastic.â€
Also for Owasso, Jordan Leonard shot 82 and Madison Lavalle 84, improving 14 shots from an opening 98. Alexis McDonald shot 90.
2016 State Championship- Girls Golf 6a
The Club at Indian Springs
Lakes Course, May 4th & 5th, 2016
1.Owasso, 342-316-658; 2.Norman High, 334-341-675; 3.Deer Creek, 343-339-682; 4.Broken Arrow, 347-338-685; 5.Union, 349-341-690; 6.Bixby, 365-343-708; 7.Norman North, 359-351-710; 8.Edmond North, 370-347-717; 9.Jenks, 373-361-734; 10.Westmoore, 376-365-741; 11.Choctaw, 376-371-747; 12.Bartlesville, 378-370-748; 13.Mustang, 371-381-752; 14.Muskogee, 381-386-767.
1.Yujeong Son, Norman High, 72-72-144; 2.Taylor Dobson, Broken Arrow, 75-72-147; 3.Kaitlin Milligan, Norman North, 77-73-150; 4.Bailey Blake, Deer Creek, 74-78-152; 5.Faith Belmear, Owasso, 81-74-155; 6.Natalie Gough, Bixby, 81-74-155; T7.Taylor Boylan, Booker T. Washington, 82-75-157; T7.Isabella Caamal, Norman North, 77-80-157; 9.Trudy Allen, Union, 79-79-158; T10.Faith Stewart, Deer Creek, 83-76-159; T10. Faith Hopkins, Bartlesville, 79-80-159; T10. Sydney Herman, Ponca City, 79-80-159; 13.Korena Aills, Broken Arrow, 77-84-161; T14.Lauren Barnes, Choctaw, 78-84-162; T14.Hannah Jones, Muskogee, 80-82-162; T16.Laure Sloan, Mustang, 79-84-163; T16.Jordan Leonard, Owasso, 81-82-163; T16.MacKenzie Enmeier, Stillwater, 83-80-163; 19.Stephanie Royer, Union, 88-76-164; T20.Summer Marshall, Norman High, 79-86-165; T20.Alyssa Wilson, Yukon, 82-83-165.
Taylor Dobson, Broken Arrow; Taylor Boylan, Booker T. Washington; Blake Bailey, Deer Creek; Lauren Barnes, Choctaw.
Emilie Jackson, Edmond North; Emily Floyd, Edmond North; Natalie Igo, Edmond North; Clair Ledbetter, Edmond North; Grace Griggs, Edmond North