By Zach Smith
HCN Sports Editor
Vandegrift sophomore Sydney Givens had a fine line to walk as she was coming down the stretch in the final round of the State Golf Championship last week.
Part of her wanted to scoreboard watch to see where she stood, but the other part of her enjoyed talking about anything but what was happening on the course with Vandegrift head coach Ben Lee.
“I try and set it aside as much as possible,” Givens said. “If it gets in your head too much you start doing things you shouldn’t do and you make more mistakes. I like to know where I stand, but at the same time you need to block some of it out.”
She walked that line to perfection on May 17 at Legacy Hill Golf Club in Georgetown, firing a 1-over 73 in the second round to win the individual state title.
“She’s so good at golf that she just needs to focus on being happy and playing the best she can,” Lee said.
Givens was tied for the lead after shooting 2-under 70 in the first round. In the second round on Tuesday, she birdied the par-3 16th and parred the final two holes to win the state title by one shot.
She won individual titles at the district, regional and state tournaments this season.
“I would not be shocked at all if she won it the next two years,” Lee said. “She had resilience just being able to pull through. There are so many things that go through her mind on the golf course, but she held it together and pulled through.”
Round Rock junior Jiyu Han shot 1-under 71 in the second round to rally for a silver medal.
“It was a lot of fun,” Han said. “I got to play with a lot of new people and challenge myself a lot. After playing not so well last year, it’d kind of driven me to play better.”
The Vipers finished second in the team competition with a combined score of 19-over, 11 shots behind state champions from San Antonio Reagan.
Behind Givens’ 1-under 143 (70-73), Mimi Burton finished 2-over (75-71), Min Kim finished 4-over (74-74), Danica Lundgren finished 14-over (79-79) and Ella Kluges finished 37-over (87-94).
“I love my team,” said Kim, a senior that spent the last two seasons with the Vipers after transferring in from California. “Everyone is so good at golf. I have high expectations for Vandegrift going forward. I’ll be rooting hard for them next year.”
It’s the second year in a row Vandegrift has won the silver medal.
Lee has been the head coach of the Vipers for the last two seasons and is planning to step down from that position before next season.
Going out with some hardware makes it even more special.
“Today (May 17) has been kind of a rollercoaster,” Lee said. “We came in with some high expectations looking to finish No. 1 as a team. We didn’t quite reach our goal, but to have Sydney find success and become an individual champion makes up for all of it.”
Girls golf at state
The Vandegrift girls golf team – Mimi Burton, Sydney Givens, Min Kim, Danica Lundgren and Ella Klegas – finished 2nd at state and Givens finished 1st and Mimi Burton finished tied for 5th. The state tournament was played at Legacy Hills Golf Club in Georgetown May 16 and 17.
“After finishing runner up last year, the only goal this year was to win,” Vandegrift head coach Ben Lee said. “Team captain Chaemin Kim was a great leader and helped keep our team focused on our goal. Sydney Givens didn’t have her best stuff, but was still able to win the individual and be the first Individual State Champion for the girls (golf) team at Vandegrift. Mimi Burton finished in the top 5 back to back years and her solid play propelled our team to another runner up finish.”
Boys golf at state
The Vandegrift boys golf team – Andrew Tan, Jaxon Bandelier, Aidan Grimsley, Jacob Meyer and Tyler Blackwell – finished 7th at state and Tan finished tied for 8th individual. The state tournament was played at Legacy Hills Golf Club in Georgetown May 9 and 10.
“With two freshmen in the lineup, making it to the state tournament was a great accomplishment in and of itself,” said coach Lee. “We had to deal with a lot of first time nerves and the boys improved in round 2. Team captain Andrew Tan finished tied for 8th individually and was instrumental in leading the team and mentoring the younger players.”