Saturday, May 25, 2024

Argyle golf standouts on course to take state

With multiple state championships over the last five seasons, Argyle High School has established itself as a force in the sports of boys and girls golf.

On the boys team, standout Ethan Payne has been a top-five player for the Eagles throughout his entire high school career.

The AHS senior has two state championship rings and has been the teams “unquestioned leader” over the last two seasons.

A consistent player, whose most memorable moment came at last year’s regionals when Argyle was in seventh place after a poor showing on day one, Payne shot 69 on day 2 in terrible conditions to propel the Eagles to a regional title against incredible odds.

Payne, 18, said that he was not that satisfied with last season in spite of rallying to play “good golf towards the end of the season” for one simple reason.

“It wasn’t enough for us to ultimately win a state championship,” Payne said.

An avid hunter and fisherman, Payne said the tradition of excellence in golf is something in which he takes a pride and takes quite seriously.

“The Argyle golf program has excelled for many years now and it’s because our consistency to put together good teams every year and having the ability to step up in the big tournaments when it really matters,” Payne said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to be on some of the state championship winning teams my freshman and sophomore years, and there is no better feeling than walking away with a win at the end of the year.”

With the amount of success the program has enjoyed in recent seasons, Payne said he has always felt an obligation to carry that forward.

“There is obviously some added pressure for us because there are many people that expect us to win,” Payne said. “But being able to handle the pressure and still play well is what makes great teams.”

Payne said when he leaves AHS, he hopes to be seen as someone who excelled in the sport of golf, contributed to the winning tradition and pushed his teammates to be the best they could be.

“Being able to stick with it in golf is so hard,” Payne said. “It can be such an up-and-down game, and you can be playing the best golf of your life one day and the next day you can be playing the worst golf of your life. Just being able to stay with it and keep trying your hardest is tough in golf and can be such a mental game.”

On the girl’s side, Argyle won the district tournament in its first year in 5A in 2023, along with a regional tournament title, and finished the year as one of the top 10 teams in the state, something coach Nathan Moses said “we will cherish and use to build on in the future.”

The Lady Eagles return a great core of players, led by Kate Rendon and Ryan Purczynski.

The remaining top five “have shown much promise this year” with sophomore Colbie Moses, junior Ana Edwards, and sophomore Alex Mara “each contributing to our scoring.”

Moses said the objective is to be peaking in April, and said Rendon will be at the vanguard.

“Kate has a rare golf journey,” Moses said. “She began golfing late in her sophomore year then broke 80 early in her junior year. This is because of Kate’s work ethic and drive. I truly believe Kate can do anything she sets her mind on. She is a tremendous student, athlete, and individual. Her desire to be successful and willingness to work has been integral to our success this season and last.”

Rendon, 18, acknowledges that she is a bit late to the game, having switched to golf from basketball following her sophomore year, but said that made her even more determined to become competitive quickly.

“As an athlete, I had high aspirations to play on varsity and knew that it would take a lot of work,” Rendon said. “I struggled with building confidence in my game, and believed I would never be able to make varsity. However, with hard work and the support of my friends and family, I was able to overcome that struggle.”

And while she admits that she has not been a part of the Argyle golf family for long, she is very well-aware of its accomplishments.

“Not only the titles the team brings home, but the excellence of past players who are now in college,” Rendon said. “Although not all players go on to play in college, playing for Argyle changed their lives for the better. Personally, deciding to play golf was the best decision I ever made since playing for the Lady Eagles has given me the most positive team experience and has allowed me to regain my confidence as a teammate, leader, and friend.”

Rendon said that although the Lady Eagles did not capture a state title in 2023, she is still impressed by all that her team was able to accomplish.

“I still feel very proud of the team and our wins at the district and regional tournaments,” Rendon said. “Seeing as it was my first golf season, getting the opportunity to play at that level was an amazing experience. I am extremely satisfied I was able to play with such driven teammates and am proud to say that this season’s team is just as determined to win.”

For Rendon, while a state championship is certainly the objective for 2024, personally, she would like to be remembered as a good friend and teammate.

“I love everyone on the team and always try to make their lives a little better,” Rendon said. “No matter what I am dealing with or how busy I am, I will always be there for my teammates.”

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