Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
Time to read
2 minutes
Read so far

Jackets have solid closing act

May 14, 2023 - 00:00
Posted in:

4 seniors, Combs conclude KHS careers as state runners-up

  • Jackets have solid closing act
    KHS GOLF COACH Chris Combs (far left) holds his coach’s achievement plaque after the Yellowjackets finished as Class 3A state runners-up. Team members were, from left, Cash Slezickey, Jax Sternberger, Blake Hill, Tristun Burnham and Myles Harrison. [Pho

There have been times in Kingfisher High School golf history that a state runner-up finish was disappointing.

Don’t count 2023 among them.

The Yellowjackets brought home Class 3A’s runner-up prize after Tuesday’s final round of the 54-hole tournament at Ardmore’s Lakeview Golf Club.

In a surprise to no one, Plainview was crowned the state champ.

“I knew going in that Plainview was the clear favorite,” coach Chris Combs said. “They’ve had the lowest scores all season, were ranked No. 1 and were playing at their home course.”

The Indians took full advantage and shot a stellar 899 over the three rounds, a full 49 shots better than KHS.

The race - going into the tournament - was truly for second place.

Combs wanted to be that team.

“I really thought the way we were trending late in the season that we were the second-best team if we prepared well leading up to state,” he said.

He certainly had a team with that mindset, led by four seniors.

Tristun Burnham, Blake Hill, Cash Slezickey and Jax Sternberger all had state tournament experience.

Sophomore Myles Harrison spent all season gaining experience, learning from Combs and the seniors and improving his game.

And, by season’s end, it appeared the Jackets were playing their best golf.

“We shot a 306, 303 and a 299 late in the season, so I felt we had a chance to play great golf in Ardmore,” Combs said.

The tournament began Monday with 36 holes.

KHS shot 309 and was only 12 strokes behind Plainview.

The second 18 didn’t go as well.

The Indians essentially wrapped up the state title with a tournament-best 295 while Kingfisher slumped to a 328.

“I thought we played well in the first round, sloppy in the second one, but rebounded and played well across the board in the final round,” Combs said.

That final round saw KHS shoot a 311, which was only four strokes off Plainview’s total for the day.

By tournament’s end, Kingfisher’s 948 was 30 strokes better than thirdplace Lone Grove’s 978. Pauls Valley was fourth at 982 and Marlow fifth at 997.

It’s the fifth time KHS has been the state runner-up.

The Jackets did it in three straight years from 2003-04 and again in 2007.

Christian Heritage’s Christian Johnson defeated Lone Grove’s Bliss Newton on the third playoff hole to win the individual title.

Both shot 216 for the tournament, one stroke better than Carter Nutt of CHA and Jace Chaney of Plainview.

Burnham was the sixthbest individual at the tournament.

He shot rounds of 71, 78 and 72 on the par-71 course for a 221 total.

Hill tied for 13th with a 236. He remained consistent with scores of 77, 79 and 80.

Slezickey was 16th with his 241. Slezickey sandwiched an 85 inside of opening and closing rounds of 78.

Sternberger and Harrison both finished at 253.

Sternberger shot 83, 89 and 81 while Harrison opened up with a pair of 86s and closed Tuesday with an 81.

The 2024 KHS golf team will have almost a completely different makeup.

On top of the four seniors graduating, Combs announced Thursday that he’d accepted a position at Dover (see story on Page 1).

Combs has coached all five state runner-up teams at KHS.

“I’ve just had a lot of great memories over these 23 years,” he said of his tenure.

However, he kept the focus on the departing seniors.

“They were great leaders plus a lot of fun to be around and I’m glad they got to end their high school careers holding some major hardware,” Combs said.

It was made possible not just by their work and efforts, but also the likes of Harrison and a core of younger golfers who pushed the upperclassmen for their roster spots.

“I’m really proud of the guys. They were hungry and worked hard for the six weeks we were together and deserved it,” Combs said.

“It’s a great memory for the entire team.”