Roff's first girls golf team ends season at state

May 11—ROFF — All things considered, it was a pretty successful season for Roff's first high school girls' golf team.

The Lady Tigers finished third in a regional qualifier and followed that up with a sixth-place finish at a Class 2A Regional Tournament. That effort earned Roff a spot in the state tournament, an impressive feat for a bunch of rookies.

The Roff squad featured junior Emma Hardison, the golfing veteran of the bunch, along with first-timers Kaylie Cranford, Sophie Eldred, Keela Scott and Shelby Ensey. Those last four golfers were kind of thrown into the deep waters and had to learn on the fly. However, head coach Eric Hardison — Emma's father — said his new players chose to swim instead of sink.

"This was a great way to start our golf program. I am so thankful and proud of these girls because most of them did not realize what they were getting into," Hardison told The Ada News. "They were thrown into the furnace quickly and survived. They learned rules and etiquette at every tournament we got to play. They got better as the year went on and as the playoffs drew near."

Hardison said it didn't take much convincing to get the Roff rookies to join Emma Hardison on her golf journey this spring.

"I took a few of my softball players to the batting cages and I looked at their swings. We then took some turf and laid it down on the softball field and hit some short wedges to the outfield. and then we were off to the races," he said.

Roff's postseason started at the Class 2A Qualifier hosted by the Falconhead Country Club in Burneyville. The Lady Tigers finished a respectable third behind Turner, who later rolled to a 2A State championship, and Empire.

Behind a third-place finish in the medalist race by Emma Hardison, who carded an 81, the Lady Tigers finished with a team score of 482.

Junior Keela Scott was next for Roff with a 130. The rest of the Lady Tigers were within 11 strokes of Scott's score.

All five Roff golfers are also integral parts of the high school softball team. So, the focus turned back to that sport for a regional tournament the following Tuesday.

"We were worried about the rain pushing one or the other onto the same day, but luckily we got through Tuesday with no rain and completed our softball regional. Kiowa beat us 7-2 to go to the state tournament. So we were already packed and headed to Miami to get ready to play our regional golf tournament on Wednesday."

The Class 2A Regional golf tournament was hosted by the Coves Golf Club in Afton. The Lady Tigers didn't have much time to settle in after the late arrival due to softball. But they went right to work.

"We had a goal of shooting 460 as a team. We worked on shots around the greens and putting and limiting our bad shots," Hardison said.

As the tournament progressed, it became apparent that Roff and Pawnee were going to be locked in a tight battle for the sixth and seventh spots in the standings. Only the top six teams at the regional receive automatic berths in the state tournament.

"Coming down to the last few holes, we were bouncing back and forth between sixth and seventh place. We were trying to keep up with the live scoring the OSSAA implemented this year with girls keeping their scores on their phones," Hardison recalled. "I was walking with Emma and Keela as they were finishing and Emma rolled in her fourth birdie on the 18th hole and I felt a little better."

Roff finished their final round before Pawnee and the Lady Tigers had to hope the Lady Black Bears didn't get hot down the stretch.

"After we turned in our scorecards and finalized everything, we could see Pawnee had a couple of more holes to play and we kind of knew that we were going to sneak in by the skin of our teeth," he said.

Roff ended with a team score of 453, only six strokes ahead of Pawnee, who was left out of state with a 459. It should be noted that Cashion finished fifth with a team score of 444.

Emma Hardison finished sixth in the regional medalist race with an 85. Scott followed with a 115, Eldred posted a 122, Ensey followed at 131 and Cranford ended up with a 134.

The Lady Tigers had another mini-conflict with the Class 2A State Tournament, which was held April 29-30 at the Prairie West Golf Course in Weatherford.

Eldred is also a rodeo girl and had a barrel race/goat-tying event to participate in. But luckily enough, her rodeo event was also in Weatherford.

However, things didn't go smoothly for Eldred.

"She jumped off her horse during a goat-tying run and looked like she hyperextended her leg as she dismounted. She took a couple of summersaults before coming to a dusty stop," Hardison said. "She showed us the video and we had a good laugh. She was a little sore for those two days (of the state tournament)."

A bright spot for Roff at the state tournament — the Lady Tigers finished ahead of the previously-mentioned Cashion squad, who beat them at the regional event. Roff finished with a two-round total of 898, just five strokes behind Laverne at 893 and 21 strokes ahead of Cashion at 919.

Emma Hardison was again rock solid for the Lady Tigers. She finished fifth in the medalist race with a score of 82-88—170. She was just five strokes behind Braylee Foster of Turner, who was fourth with a score of 165.

"Emma had a tremendous season, winning the Wewoka and Canadian Tournaments and finishing in the Top 10 of every tournament she played. She has been pretty consistent and needs to strengthen her short game over the summer," Hardison said.

Hardison said strong winds on Day 2 kept scores up throughout the tournament.

"Day 2 saw the western Oklahoma winds howl. We had 25 miles per hour wind gusts that made things difficult for everyone. Scores were definitely higher," he said.

Scott shot a 120-113—233 for Roff and Eldred — sore leg and all — was the next Lady Tiger after recording a 124-114—238. Ensey was next with a 126-131—257 and Cranford finished with a 132-132—164.

"It was an enjoyable year for these girls, especially making the state tournament in our first year," Hardison said. "We look forward to trying to have a better finish at next year's state tournament."