As freshmen last year, Decatur’s Drew Jones and Bridgeport’s Lexi Read battled nerves to make respectable showings at their first University Interscholastic League Class 3A state tournaments.
Jones posted rounds of 77 and 81 to finish ninth.
“It was nice to get that experience as a freshman. I didn’t expect to win,” he said.
Read shot a 91 and 86 to take 19th.
“I was nervous,” she recalled.
A year later, the two sophomores head back to the state tournament confident and ready to battle for a state medal. The Class 3A tournaments will begin Monday and conclude Tuesday at the Hyatt Resort Lost Pines Golf Course in Bastrop.
Jones tees off at 9:20 a.m. Monday. Read will hit the course Monday afternoon at 1:30. Her Bridgeport teammate, freshman Brooke Irion, will tee off at 12:30 p.m.
Jones is coming off a second-place finish at the Class 3A Region II tournament April 14-15 at Tanglewood Golf Resort in Pottsboro. He shot a 149 over the two rounds, including a par 72 on the final day.
He finished the second round by going 4-under on the final four holes. He then won a playoff against Irving North Hills’ Bill Ramage to earn the silver medal.
Heading to state for a second time, Jones said he is playing with a lot of confidence.
“I feel strong,” Jones said. “Now that I’ve been down there I know what it’s like.
“The only thing I want is to win it.”
Jones showed how well he is playing earlier this week during a practice round at Fort Worth’s famed Colonial. Before having to end his round after the 17th due to darkness, he was 4-under par playing from the championship tee boxes.
“It was a good round,” Jones said. “I didn’t get to play 18 because it was way too dark.”
He’s played two practice rounds at the par-72 course at Lost Pines. He will get another round Sunday on the course.
“It’s challenging. You can get into trouble,” Jones said. “If you hit it where you can see it, you’ll be fine. There’s some holes where if you get off by 10 feet, you’ll be in the rough.
“I’ll need to take advantage of the par 5s.”
Like Jones, Read finished second at the 3A Region II meet with rounds of 84 and 79 and enters state playing well.
“I feel great. I’ve been playing good and swinging well,” she said. “I feel unstoppable. I feel like everything is coming together.”
Read believes it will take two rounds in the low to mid 70s to bring home the gold medal. She is confident she can put together two solid rounds to contend.
Irion will be making her debut at state. She finished fourth at regionals and advanced to state as the third medalist. She shot 86 and 82 at regionals.
In the Class 5A tournament at Onion Creek Golf Club Monday and Tuesday, Northwest senior Aaron Guanlao will battle for a state medal. Guanlao won the 5A Region I tournament in Lubbock with rounds of 75 and 72. He is making his first trip to state.