By Jason Elmquist
Stillwater News Press
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Mother Nature was unkind Monday to the participants of the Class 6A state boys golf tournament at Karsten Creek.
As if the chilly temperatures — a far cry from the record-setting heat felt during the regional tournament last week — and windy conditions weren’t enough to make managing one of Oklahoma’s toughest golf courses a daunting task. An afternoon rain shower added another level of difficulty to the championship-caliber course.
So perhaps its no real surprise that it was during that time that Stillwater High senior Troy Fort — the lone Pioneer representative on the course — carded his worst nine holes during the first two rounds of the tournament.
“It changes your thought process on how much runout you’re going to have and things like that,” SHS coach Larry Hesler said. “And the wind kept whipping, so he had some troubles with club selection. But he handled the adversity pretty well.”
The SHS senior shot a front-nine score of 52 during the brief rain shower Monday afternoon — that nearly brought a halt to the competition with the threat of lightning rolling through.
“That rain definitely wasn’t something I’ve seen in a long time,” Fort said. “That changed some of the yardages you have. That, plus the wind, you weren’t hitting it quite as far. So it was a culmination of a lot of things that played into that today.”
Fortunately for Fort, the rain stopped — which actually led to a brief glimpse of the sun here and there — right before he made the turn. And that’s exactly what he needed.
Fort brushed off the glaring number from the first nine and blazed through the back half of the course to card a 38 to give him a second-round score of 90 — after shooting an 86 during the morning’s first round.
“It gives me something positive going into (Tuesday),” Fort said. “Shows me that if I find a few things, make a few more putts and that 38 is even lower.”
While the Southwestern College signee isn’t in contention for individual accolades, at this point Fort is looking to see an improvement from his state appearance a year ago.
And he will get that chance to build off of Monday’s strong finish by starting on that same back nine that he mastered Monday — which saw him card a 41 on during the first round. Fort will tee off at 7:50 a.m. from No. 10 in his final round of competition as a Pioneer.
“If he doesn’t bring that number back down, he has bad thoughts going through his head to start (Tuesday),” Hesler said. “But getting to start on the back, which he likes better, that was kind of one of the nice things. If he hadn’t reigned it in a little bit, it was going to be a long, restless night.”