FAYETTEVILLE -- Scott Williams wasn't getting wet again.
The Fayetteville boys golf coach had slogged through two soggy days while watching his team win a school-record fifth straight 7A state title on Thursday. To celebrate, the Bulldogs -- decked in all black for the final round -- decided to jump into a water hazard near the green on hole No. 10, just as they had done after two years ago after claiming the title Fayetteville Country Club.
Class 7A State Boys Golf State Championship
at Fayetteville Country Club
North Little Rock^313-302—615
They were quietly trying to figure out how to get Williams into the pond, too, but their coach wised up to the plan when his wife, Becky Williams, asked for his wallet and belt.
"Yeah, she tipped me off," Williams said. "I am super glad they got to celebrate that way because that means we're champions again. I will support them like I do in everything, but most of those guys I've had since ninth graders -- they knew well enough not to push that too hard."
Led by medalist Fisher Vollendorf's two-day total of 138, all four Fayetteville golfers finished among the top nine in the individual standings. Cabot's Connor Gaunt was runner-up with a 140 and Little Rock Catholic's Scott Tabor came in third with a 143.
Vollendorf entered Thursday tied with Gaunt for the lead at even par. The Fayetteville senior and Arkansas Razorbacks pledge began his round with birdies on the first two holes and then shot par he rest of the way. After sinking his final putt, Vollendorf let out a scream to begin a celebration with teammates, who surrounded the 18th green with several dozen spectators under umbrellas and a canopy of gray skies.
"Being able to putt out on 18 with all the Bulldogs sitting around me and having everyone watch, that's something I'll remember for a long time," Vollendorf said. "It's too cool because it's something that no one else ever done before. To win five in a row and to have it over with, it's something that's really, really special."
Fellow future Razorbacks golfer Denver Davis and Jackson Cole each shot 147s to finish tied for seventh place while Palmer McSpadden was a stroke behind in ninth with a 148.
Davis, a junior, said hitting a shot "to within one foot" of the No. 6 hole before putting in for birdie "really got me going." Cole, a senior who has been a part of the past four state championships, said a key for him was "bouncing back" after starting his round four-over-par through three holes. McSpadden, a sophomore, said "finishing strong" after a couple of early birdies aided his round.
Collectively, the Bulldogs said a team talk Wednesday night helped keep them grounded as far as "keeping it simple" throughout their rounds and "not trying to do too much," Davis said.
About the only time they weren't on the same page came moments before the celebratory splash. A few ran while others jogged or walked to the water hazard, which was several hundred yards from the clubhouse. There was a simple explanation why some didn't want to outrun the small crowd that was following behind.
"All of the moms wanted pictures," Davis said.
Once the entire group arrived at the water hazard's bank, there was even more indecision and debate over what part of the pond into which they would jump.
"We were worried about how deep it is," Cole said.
Just as they had throughout the tournament and season, they came together for the final splash after making a short sprint and leaping into the murky water.
Players, with their black attire still drenched, credited coach Williams with keeping them grounded, motivated and focused on the goal they achieved on Thursday.
"I don't know if I can put it into words -- it's an unbelievable feeling," Williams said. "It's a great relief to accomplish a goal that we've been working for and I'm just super proud of the young men and the families that have contributed to this."
Rogers High was fifth in the team standings behind Trveor Brunson's 146 and Spencer Elserman's 151, which was low enough to finish sixth and 11th, respectively in the overall standings.
Sports on 10/05/2017
Print Headline: Chip's suggested hed: Back in Black or Ba-ba-ba-ba-back in black