Written by SportsDayDFW.com
UIL individual champ back for Highland Park golf team, in state's top two for last 14 years
A quick look at the returning roster shows Highland Park’s bid for another Class 4A boys state golf crown is in good hands.
Start with Scottie Scheffler. If the last two UIL state individual championships are not convincing enough, Scheffler captured the U.S. Junior Amateur title last summer, then followed it up by advancing to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur. He was the last American in the field of that prestigious event.
The 6-4 senior, a University of Texas signee, limited his golf to weekends while a member of the Highland Park basketball team. But Scheffler recently showed his game did not suffer, breaking 70 in three of four practice rounds at the par-71 University of Texas Golf Club, site of next month’s Class 4A state tournament.
“I’m still pretty rusty with my short game, and I’ve been working on that,” Scheffler said. “But I’m hitting it pretty well.”
Scheffler’s victory margin was three strokes in both of his state tournament wins. Last year, he finished 5 under after a final-round 64 that included a hole-in-one.
“Scottie has no weakness,” said Highland Park coach Jeff Loyd, who has guided the Scots to 12 state titles. “What I see that separates him is the intensity with which he practices. He has a concentration level you only see in the best players. And he hates to lose.”
Highland Park returns three others from the five-man squad that ran away with the 4A title by 25 strokes over runner-up Cedar Park in 2013: seniors Charlie Click and Jake Potter and junior Drake Turnbull. Click and Potter finished 3 over for two rounds at state, tied for 10th, and Turnbull was 4-over.
Potter, however, is a question mark after undergoing knee surgery.
“At first we thought we were going to be without him, but now it looks [like] we have a shot at getting him back,” Loyd said. “I’m just not sure where his game will be.”
Sophomore James Thompson, a member of the Highland Park Gold team that also qualified for state last year, and freshman Cash Carter are vying to make the starting five. Senior Connor Dunn, another Gold player last year, is also pushing for a spot.
Scheffler has an opportunity to win a third individual title, something no Highland Park male golfer has accomplished. Trip Kuehne and Cody Gribble are the others to win twice.
But it is the team title that Highland Park covets most. The Scots have 18 of them and have finished no worse than second at state the last 14 years.
“The way we approach it is to play hard for the other four guys,” Loyd said. “Everybody has the same goal, and we’ve never at Highland Park had to battle egos as far as kids selfishly doing this or that.”
The two-stage state qualification process begins with the District 10-4A tournament at Dallas Athletic Club on Monday and Tuesday. The Region II tournament is scheduled for the Links at Waterchase in Fort Worth on April 14-15. State is set for April 28-29 at the UT Golf Club.