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Local golf teams prepare to make a run at a state title

Several teams from around the Permian Basin will compete in their state tournaments this month.

TEXAS, USA — Over the next couple weeks, golf teams from all over the Permian Basin will be competing for a chance to claim a state championship at the Texas UIL state tournaments.

We caught up with a handful of programs to preview how each team is preparing for the next level of competition.

Andrews girls golf and the state tournament go hand in hand. The program has reached this tourney the past 12 years straight and are back with another attempt to claim the crown. 

The Lady Mustangs placed third last season and are locked in for this year, really focusing on the mental aspect of the game.

For some, that means just living in the moment. Junior Zoe Woemmel is competing in the state tourney for the first time in her high school career, following an injury last year, and is just excited to get the chance to compete. 

"Honestly, I'm just happy to be there because I missed my chance freshman and sophomore year, so I'm just happy to be there," Woemmel said. 

For others, it's all about having fun. Senior Kyleigh McGowen has been here before and is giving the underclassmen and the newbies advice when it comes to locking in come state time. 

"I'm just telling them, 'Just have fun. If you want to get serious about, get serious about it, but for right now have fun with it,'" McGowen said. 

The Andrews girls team competes May 15 and 16 at the Legends Golf Course. 

The Andrews boys team is also headed to state this year. 

It's already been an accolade-filled 2023 season for the Mustangs, winning both the district and regional tourneys. The goal now is adding the big trophy to the display case.

Like most teams, there are obstacles in their way, but this squad has the advantage of playing with some experience. 

Junior Jack Burgen competed in the state competition last year and knows what he is going to try to do differently this time around. 

"I just need to not be as nervous, because I feel like I was trying to play too perfect and it messed me up a little bit," Burgen said. 

The mental game is a big point of emphasis for his team, similarly to the girls team. Sophomore Jorge Molinar III also mentioned that he'd like to work on his tee time mentality. 

"Decision making, it's always been a struggle in my game," Molinar III said. "I always try to go for the hero shot and not just take my medicine and punch out and try to go from there."

When there's all this talk of the mental game, it's hard to remember that competing at the state level is a special experience that shouldn't be taken for granted. 

This is the first year that junior Miken Hernandez will go to state and compete. Last season, he qualified as an alternate and had to watch from the sidelines. That give him a unique perspective while preparing. 

"I guess to put myself in better places than where I saw my teammates were," Hernandez explained. 

These guys will play May 22 and 23 at the Legends Golf Course. 

The final group we visited with was the Garden City girls golf team. This is another team with plenty of postseason experience and a decorated 2023 season. 

The Lady Bearkats have been dominant in the spring season so far, going undefeated and winning every tournament. This brings a certain amount of confidence.

That can be felt when talking to upperclassmen, like Kara Roberts. The senior has been involved in a few successful seasons with Garden City and feels like this group could be special.

"We are going into this with a lot of confidence, and I really feel like we feel like we have it this year," Roberts said. "It's very exciting to have this experience again, especially my senior year."

The excitement around this team's chances isn't distracting the squad from focusing on the task at hand. Senior Shelby Braden knows that the path that has gotten them to this point may not be indicative of what her team will face at state.

"I feel like we're not as worried," Braden explained. "We're in a good position. At the same time, we know that it's not going to be easy. It's not going to be a walk in the park, so it's kind of keeping that positive mentality through it all."

The Garden City girls golf team will play May 15 and 16 at Plum Creek Golf Course. 

There are a handful of Basin teams that will be competing at the state level alongside these athletes. Here's a list of other teams/individuals that have qualified for state: 

Sarah Reed (Midland Legacy girls golf)

Talyssa Griner (Monahans girls golf)

Seminole girls golf team

Odessa Compass girls golf team

Wink girls golf team 

Audrey Marler (Grady girls golf) 

Borden County girls golf team

Konner Iglehart (Monahans boys golf) 

Kade Nichols (Forsan boys golf) 

Borden County boys golf team 

Iraan boys golf team

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