Cougar Golfers Qualify for State 1A Tourney
Quick! Name Rector High School's most competitive sport. If you answered "golf," you join coach Matt Mills in that opinion.
For the fifth consecutive year, the Cougars will be represented at the state golf tournament next week. Senior Cody Ails and junior Tyler Tinnin both qualified as individuals - and nearly brought the entire team with them.
Ails shot a 90 to punch his ticket to the state round, while Tinning carded a 97 at last week's 1A-4 District Tournament at Melbourne. As a team, Rector logged a 306, a mere three strokes off the team-qualifying mark established by Hillcrest. The top two teams from each district advance to the state finals. Izard County finished with a team score of 263 to nab the first slot while Hillcrest edged out the Cougars by tallying a 303.
Ails and Tinnen will try to carry on the legacy firmly set by two-time state champion Kade Scott. Mills said while he has not seen an entire Rector team qualify for the state golf tournament, the tradition is sound.
"[Golf] has been our most competitive sport," said Mills. "We're very proud of the fact that every year we are a competitive golf team and have players at the state tournament. There's not been another sport that has had back-to-back champions and to the state tournament five years in a row."
Ails finished third at the district tournament, nine strokes off the pace by medalist Ean Dunton of Ridgefield Christian. Izard County's Cody Workman finished second after carding an 87.
"Cody is one of the best single-A golfers in the state," said Mills. "If he was to show up and play his game he's got a shot to win this thing."
Mills said the same for Tinnen, who tied with Calico Rock's Cole Whitaker for fourth among individuals last week.
"They're both very consistent golfers," the coach said of Ails and Tinnen. "Both guys have a chance to go over and do well and represent Rector very well."
Both players have golfed the Turkey Mountain course they will face next week and Mills said they will need their even keel to remain in the pack and give themselves a chance at victory.
"They both just have to stay consistent," Mills said. "Keep the ball in bounds; don't reach the green and three-putt. It'll be a big day for both of these guys."
Ails and Tinnen will play a practice round Monday before taking the course for the state tournament on Tuesday.