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The Daily Ardmoreite
  • Ardmore girls return to state with course familiarity

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  • They practice here twice a week. They've grown up on the course, know the ins and outs, the tricks and the undulations.
    Ardmore's girls golf team is more familiar with Dornick Hills Golf Course than the state tournament itself. The Tigers' return to the final step in Class 5A comes at Dornick today and tomorrow, and not even coach Marc Peters could have picked a better spot for his rising stars to finish their season.
    "Dornick is a very challenging golf course," Peters said. "If you're on the wrong side of the fairway, you're in trouble. If you're on the wrong side of the green, you're in trouble.
    "Our girls have that knowledge, and hopefully we'll be able to take advantage of it the next couple of days."
    While the state tournament has been elusive for Ardmore's girls' golf team in recent years, Dornick Hills is a second home. Between practice rounds at Lakeview Golf Course — where sophomore Liz Hargis' father, Doug, is the club professional — and more practice at Dornick — where Ardmore freshman Shelby Peters and her family are members — the Tigers shouldn't be surprised by anything over the next two days.
    Hargis and Peters shot the two low rounds for Ardmore at the 5A regional last week, with Hargis placing fifth overall and Peters finishing in the top 15. Ardmore placed fifth as a team to qualify.
    "It would have been upsetting if we didn't make it," Hargis said of getting to play state at Dornick Hills. "I think that kinda pushed us further to practice more. It was a good goal."
    The experience with Dornick Hills will help offset the lack of experience from Ardmore, who have to get past Duncan, Deer Creek and Bishop McGuinness for team honors. Duncan has won five of the last six state championships in 5A.
    Ardmore returns four of its five — Hargis, Salyer, Ragen Holt and Kaitlyn Hartman — that placed 11th at state last season. Sayler said this year has been a big progression since last season.
    "I'm very proud of our team making it to state," Sayler said. "I think we've had a very good season, considering where we've come from."
    They've come through what Hargis called an especially difficult season because of the conditions.
    In last week's regional at El Reno, inclement weather pushed back the tournament to a rare Wednesday. Inconsistent conditions — from hot to cold to windy to rainy and back again — have made life miserable for all prep golfers in Oklahoma this season.
    Temperatures are expected to take a big dive Thursday, the final round of play at Dornick Hills. Ardmore's girls will be ready — just as they've been all season — with course knowledge in their back pocket.
    Page 2 of 2 - "It's a lot better that we know our way around," Hargis said.
    "You don't know what's gonna happen until you actually get out there," Peters said of someone never playing Dornick Hills.
    Coach Peters, Shelby's father, has seen this coming for a while. Years in advance, Peters anticipated this group and their potential success.
    Can the Tigers capitalize on home course advantage over the next two days?
    "These girls in junior high were playing good golf, and the coaches and other pros around could see that they had potential," Peters said. ""We're still young, we're one of the youngest teams in the state tournament this year.
    "The sky's the limit for them."
    Follow Horne on Twitter: @ekhorneARD

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