Girls golf season comes to an end

Lady Tigers place 6th at regionals

Senior+Graci+Henard+takes+a+shot+at+Northridge+Country+Club.+The+team+placed+sixth+at+regionals+on+April+19-20.

Photo by Caden Rainwater

Senior Graci Henard takes a shot at Northridge Country Club. The team placed sixth at regionals on April 19-20.

Story by Graci Henard, staff writer

The girls varsity golf team travelled to Rockwall Golf and Athletic Club to compete in the UIL 5A regional tournament on April 19-20. The girls placed sixth out of 16 teams, which concluded their season.

“For me going in [the goal] was to improve from our regional preview, which we actually did,” head coach Ryan Huntze said. “Our first round, we improved from the preview by 35 shots. We wanted to be in the top half of the fields, which we were after round one. We were in seventh, and we always try to improve the second day. We did improve by five shots and we ended up finishing in sixth place. “

Over the two-day period, the conditions fluctuated, making the course even more difficult and the course harder to adapt to. Winds ranged from 8 mph to 35 mph, which made it harder for the players to select clubs since they had to guess how much the wind would affect a particular shot. 

“The wind was very challenging,” senior Kenzie Parker said. “It would affect shots way more than you thought it would, resulting in a lot of missed greens and putts.”

The team battled through adversity and played well in the harsh conditions. Proving their strength, the Lady Tigers finished the tournament with improvement from the first day. 

“Those were two rounds [on] a hard course in hard conditions [and] we actually got a better score as a team in the second round in the harder conditions,” Huntze said. “I was happy with how the girls played.”

After the first day, it was evident that the team would not advance to state, but senior Graci Henard had a chance at qualifying individually. 

“I was also intensely hoping Graci Henard would be able to go to state as an individual,” junior Angie Parrott said. “So much so, that anytime I would see my coach I would wave him down just to see how she was playing.”

Henard fell short of advancing after a disappointing last nine holes. After four years on the golf team, she concluded her senior season with five individual wins. Henard will go on to play golf for Dallas Baptist University in the fall. 

“I can’t believe it’s already over, but I’m thankful for the time I’ve spent as a Tiger,” Henard said. “I will cherish these memories and this team forever.”

Henard’s biggest achievement was being the first Texas High girl to win the Jay Brewer Memorial Lady Tiger Classic. This moment was also memorable for coach Huntze, who noted it as his favorite coaching moment of the season.

“Winning this tournament was one of Graci’s goals this year [and] no female golfer from Texas had ever won this tournament before,” Huntze said. “For her to win it the way she did was truly remarkable. She birdied in three of her last four holes to shoot 72 and force a playoff which she won five holes later. It was even more special to watch because I know how much coach Brewer means to Graci and how badly she wanted to win that tournament in his honor.” 

Senior Kenzie Parker also concluded her time as a Lady Tiger golfer with the conclusion of this tournament. Parker has been a constant strength over four years and has improved tremendously, showing the team what it means to be a true team player. Her last couple holes were emotional, being that this is her last competitive golf tournament.

“I knew the last couple holes would be hard,” Parker said. “I held back tears as I walked off the last green.”

Huntze walked with both seniors for a final time on their last holes, making the moment even more sentimental. 

“That was very very bittersweet because, you know, it was the last time,” Huntze said. “Both Graci and Kenzie have worked very hard to get where they are, that it’s also just sad to know that that was the last time that I was gonna get to be on the golf course with them. I just knew that they wanted to play as best they could. They gave it all they had, and that’s all you can ask for.”

With one going to play college golf and the other going to focus on academics, this year’s girls senior class has left a mark on the golf program and on coach Huntze. Their success on and off the golf course is a true testament to their raising and coaching.

“They definitely set the standard in my eyes for what it takes to be a student athlete at TISD,” Huntze said. “I’m always gonna reference back to Kenzie and Graci for what it takes to be a good golfer. I can look back at Graci Henard in a few years when I’ve got a girl that says ‘hey, what does it it take to play college golf,’ [and] I’ll be able to say, well, I watched what Graci Henard did, and I can tell the girl exactly what she did. I’ve learned a lot from watching both of them.”

Not only was the team successful on the golf course, but they grew close personally. This bond made golf trips even more enjoyable and improved the results of tournaments. 

“I’ve learned that teamwork and team chemistry really does have an impact on the team,” Huntze said. “I felt like this year we really came together and we played better as a team this year we really improved. I think everybody enjoyed their time together playing together. And it was fun to have that team bond and team chemistry.”

This bond makes saying goodbye even harder. The two seniors may be graduating, but the team will still have each other in their hearts, no matter the location.

“Being a part of varsity golf was the best thing that could have happened to me,” Parrott said. “I met a group of people who I will always stay close with, including my best friend whom I couldn’t live without now. The seniors will always have a place in my heart and I truly can’t imagine what next year will be like without them. They taught me so many life skills. I tear up when I think of all the memories we’ve made and how after they leave, I have to step up and lead without them.”