McALESTER — Junior Alli Furlong’s eyes went wide. A big smile broke out on freshman Madalyn Nix’s face. Coach Aron Holt sported a look of serene satisfaction — and perhaps a bit of surprise.
The McAlester Lady Buffaloes golf team had qualified for State.
The Lady Buffs shot a combined 411, placing fifth at Tuesday’s Class 5A regional girls’ golf tournament at the McAlester Country Club. A year after finishing last at Regionals, the 2014 team advanced to the state tournament for the first time since 2010.
“From what I saw, I was pretty impressed with how they were hitting the ball,” Holt said.
“It’s just a testament to the work these girls have put in at getting better.”
Teeing off at 9 a.m. Tuesday, the Lady Buffs had to wait through much of the afternoon to see if their score of 411 would remain in the top six and qualify for State. They were in fourth late in the afternoon, but Collinsville, Coweta and Pryor had yet to finish up.
Collinsville’s third and fourth bags eventually turned in a combined scorecard of 257, effectively ensuring they wouldn’t catch McAlester. Coweta did, shooting a 397 for third, and Pryor took sixth with a 417.
Collinsville missed the cut.
Furlong led the Lady Buffs with a 90, a score which put her in the top 10 overall among individuals.
“That’s my best score ever,” Furlong said.
“My first tee shot, I was really stressed out. But then the rest of it, I just decided I didn’t care, so I was going to just play as well as I could.”
A high school golf team can field up to five bags, then drop the highest score. Nix shot a 97 — a personal best — senior Madison Young shot a 111; freshman Kat Battles shot a 113 — another personal best at a tournament — and freshman Johanne Kalin shot a 114 that the team dropped.