Eagles back for more

Playing in last year’s tournament breeds familiarity

Senior Toby Sanders leads a group of experienced Milano golfers at the state tourney. Senior Toby Sanders leads a group of experienced Milano golfers at the state tourney. MILANO—When it comes to the state golf tournament, the Milano Eagles golf quintet are hoping the old adage, “familiarity breeds contempt” doesn’t apply to them.

For the second straight year and consequently, only the second time in school history, Milano will compete for a state title.

The Eagles are set to participate in the UIL Class A state golf tournament Thursday and Friday at Lions Municipal Golf Course in Austin. The first group will tee off at 8 a.m. each day.

Milano qualified for the state golf meet in 2011 as well, finishing just off the medal stand, tying for fourth as a team.

“Our region got a lot tougher this year with Weimar and Normangee joining us after UIL realignment. These guys worked on their games a bunch over last summer and fall, because they really wanted to get back to state,” Eagles golf coach Brad Jones said.

“These guys are not just good golfers but great young men. They always seem to be the member of their group that puts the flag back in the hole after the group finishes.

“That tells me that they are not just concerned about themselves, but they also want to honor the game of golf and play the game the right way. No coach could ask for anything more.”

The Eagles qualified for a return trip to the state tournament after finishing third in the Region IV meet held April 15-16 at Brenham Country Club. Milano finished behind Weimar’s Team A and Team B.

Weimar’s two teams finished one-two in last year’s Class 2A state golf tournament.

At the Region IV meet, Weimar’s A team took top honors with a score of (316-311) 627, while Weimar’s B squad shot a (338-345) 683 to finish second.

Milano’s team combined for a score of (345-347) 692 at the regional contest.

The Eagles won the District 27A title on March 25.

Mader led the Eagles at regionals, shooting a two-day total of 162, followed by Sanders with a 168.

Individually Mader was seventh overall and Sanders tied for 13th place.

Willingham and Walton each had a two-day score of 181 and Taylor shot a 227.

“Playing in last year’s tournament has to help. This year was their second trip in a row to regionals, and they shot 33 shots better than last year,” Jones said. “Being comfortable with the course and the environ- ment of being at state should help the guys feel a sense of comfort compared to last year.”

Other teams competing at the state tournament include defending state champion Rankin, Eldorado and Panhandle from Region I; Seymour, Stamford and Throckmorton from Region II; Martin’s Mill (second place team last year), Brookeland and Harleton from Region III.

“I expect us to compete well with most of the teams, with maybe Weimar’s A team being the best team in the field. Of course, Weimar’s A and B teams got first and second place in the 2A state tournament last year, and Rankin won the class A tournament and returns the nucleus of their team,” Jones said. “When I was at Iraan, Rankin would come over to play at the Iraan course all the time. The two coaches sons, (the Thompsons) from Rankin can flat out play the game. They will definitely contend for the individual medalist honors.”

Jones thinks that the Eagles could get on the medal stand this year.

“This is the state meet, so there won’t be any bad teams there. Like I said, Weimar A and Rankin are probably the favorites. I feel like we can definitely compete for a medal,” Jones said. “But winning a medal won’t be our first goal. Our first goal will be to execute one shot at a time and let the results take care of themselves.”

Lions Municipal course, located at 2901 Enfield Drive in Austin, was built by the Lions Club in 1928 and has served the citizens of Austin since 1934. Notable golfers on the course include Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, Tom Kite and Ben Crenshaw.

“Old Muny” is just 6,001 yards in total, the narrow tree-lined fairways and small greens should challenge all contestants at the Class A state tournament.

“The course has a reputation of being short and very narrow. Courses like this tend to favor the players who can play target golf over the guys who just grab the driver and bomb the ball off the tee,” Jones said. “My guys understand that we will need to play for position off the tee instead of distance. Hitting to a certain part of the fairway on each hole will be more important than hitting the ball a long way.”

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