Before his final high school golf season began, Granbury’s Travis Benson looked at the calendar and made a note to himself.
“Most of the time you don’t know when it’s going to end, but I do,” he said. “I looked and thought about how if things played out right, this would be the last tournament I’d ever play in high school.”
They worked out right – and it is.
When Benson leads the Pirates onto the Onion Creek Golf Course Monday and Tuesday, it will be in the 4A State Golf Tournament.
Last year he reached state as well, playing the Jimmy Clay course. He was also playing alone as a medalist, placing third.
“It was great, but this is even greater,” he said. “That was our goal, to get our whole team here.”
Benson, arguably the finest golfer ever to pick up a stick for Granbury High, is bound for New Mexico State University next year. He is one of three seniors on the team this season, along with Justin Largent and Austin Kinsey.
Kinsey, like Benson, has been a part of the Pirate program for the past four years. He said for his team to compete at state, it will require consistency in their short game.
“We came down here (with Travis) and realized how good everyone’s short game is who makes it to state,” he said. “It’s all about 100 yards and in.”
Largent moved to Granbury from Class 3A Rusk before this school year, his senior year, after his father James became GISD superintendent. He was already a regional qualifier.
“It’s definitely made the move the worth it,” he said. “It’s felt good getting to state, that’s for sure.
“There are a lot of good players there, a lot of competition, but we don’t need to put a lot of stress on ourselves and just go have fun.”
Pirate coach Steve Ward said that, above all, is what he hopes his team takes out of the state tournament. Of course, a state championship would also be nice, and he believes his team can accomplish that feat if they play their best golf.
“We’re hitting on all cylinders. We’re one of the best teams in the state,” Ward said.
Lake Travis, winner of the past two 4A state championships, has moved up to 5A (and they reached state again). However, the team to beat every season is Highland Park, which has its Blue and Gold squads competing Monday and Tuesday.
The Scots have won nine titles over the past 13 seasons, and finished second the other four times.
“I know their number one player, Scott Scheffler, really well,” said Benson. “We’ve been playing each other since we were 11 or 12.
“Yes, they are great, but we can beat them. We’ve got the talent to go do something special.”
Ward said one thing that greatly helps the Pirates is the different courses on which they get to practice during the season.
“Hidden Oaks, deCordova, Pecan, Harbor Lakes, playing those places is great for us, and they’ve been so helpful by letting us practice on them,” said Ward comparing Onion Creek to deCordova.
“That diversity, the different greens, different looks, you’re not going to be able to trick these guys.”
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