The Vandegrift Viper girls golf team made history last week, establishing a number of “firsts,” at the Texas UIL 6A State Golf Championship on May 10-11 at Legacy Hills Golf Club in Georgetown.
Both the Vipers and Mimi Burton, sophomore captain, fiercely contended for the team and individual titles but both came up just short. VHS finished as Runners-Up to Lewisville Hebron and Burton was solo 3rd place finisher, just 2 shots behind the individual medalist.
First year coach, Ben Lee, noted the promise this finish shows for the years-to-come. “With three freshman, one sophomore and one junior, we’re by far the youngest team out here. I could not be more proud of how the girls handled themselves. This just makes us more hungry to get back here and win it next year!”
Playing in the standard high school and collegiate team golf “5 play, best 4 scores count” format, the Vipers held the day 1 lead by 4 shots over Lewisville Hebron. They were led by Burton’s 3-under- par 69 (a Viper State Tournament Record) and very consistent play through the lineup.
The three Viper freshman had an outstanding start with Sydney Givens, Danika Lundgren and Ella Klages shooting 75, 75 and 78 respectively. On the final hole of the day, the par-4 9th, freshman Givens provided the “shot-of-the-day” (with a big gallery of players, coaches and parents watching). Givens’ wedge approach flew directly over-the-flag and spun back to just inside 2’ to finish with an exciting birdie.
Day 2 conditions were considerably more difficult. The girls played in constant drizzle from the start with heavy rain and gusty winds coming into play on the back nine. The Vipers hung tough and stayed in touch with the team lead through the early portion of the day but Lewisville Hebron applied big pressure playing the front nine a very strong combined +5.
In the middle of the round, the Vipers had a few rough holes and fell back, despite valiant Viper efforts through the rainy back nine, highlighted by Givens’ and Min Kim’s outstanding even-par 36’s. In the end, Hebron’s solid play, led by Junior SMU commit, Symran Shah’s steady 72, made them too tough to catch.
In the individual title race, Burton’s first round 69 co-lead on day 1 along with San Angelo Junior, Ryann Honea. On day 2, Plano East Senior and Oklahoma signee, Meagan Winans got in the mix with a 69 of her own finishing at even-par. Burton and Honea matched scores through the day both +2 for the round and -1 total.
Burton briefly took the lead when Honea double-bogeyed 14, but Honea then finished fast with birdies on 16 and 18 to finish -1. With Winans and Honea finishing at even and -1 respectively, Burton was -1 and playing the 13th hole when the storm hit and the wind and rain intensified. With a bogey on 14 she dropped one behind at even-par. Pars on 15, 16 and 17 meant she played the 18th needing a birdie to tie.
In the group ahead, VHS’ Givens again provided the shot-of-the-day, stiffing a last hole wedge to 2’ for birdie for the second straight day.
Waiting in the fairway having seen the great shot, Burton said, “I saw Syd had hit another awesome wedge in there close and made birdie. I knew that was a really tricky pin to get close to, but I had to try to win so I went for it.”
Burton’s wedge missed left of the green leaving a tough chip. She missed from 10’ and finished with a bogey dropping into a tie for 3rd. Burton then won the “Bronze” medal in a playoff against Waco Midway senior and Boston College signee, Eubin Shim to become the first Viper girl to medal at state.
6A State Championship
6a team runners-up, best finish ever at 6a Championship (2016 Viper girls were 2nd at 5A Championship)
605 Total Viper team score, lowest ever at state
Mimi Burton: First round 69, First Viper girl to break 70 at state championship. 3rd place Individual, first Viper to medal at state championship. 145, lowest total shot at state by a Viper girl.
*Sydney Givens: T11th individual finish. Best-ever finish for Viper freshman. 149 lowest score shot by a Viper freshman at state.
Mimi Burton, Sophomore – 69-76=145
Sydney Givens, Freshman – 75-74=149
Min Kim, Junior – 76-75=151
Danika Lundgren, Freshman – 75-85=160
Ella Klages, Freshman – 78-89= 167