The Lakeside boys golf team is returning four players that competed at last year’s state tournament, and sophomore Will Gordon looks to repeat after winning last season’s individual state championship.
The Lakeside girls return three state competitors, including seniors Brooklyn Bourland and Maggie Huett who are expected to lead the Lady Rams.
First year head coach Brandon Burton has 23 players between his two squads, including 15 boys and eight girls. Both Lakeside golf teams practice at the Hot Springs Country Club.
“Brooklyn Bourland and Maggie Huett will be important to the Lady Rams,” Burton said. “Both are very consistent and good leaders for our younger girls.”
The Lady Rams finished in the top five at state last year and have good young talent coming in with freshman Payton Bourland (Brooklyn Bourland’s younger sister), Ellie Rammer and Jaden Johnson.
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Off the tee, Brooklyn Bourland is hitting consistently.
“I am getting better,” she said. “I can hit about 200 to 220 or so. I live in the Village so I like to play Balboa a lot.”
The Lady Rams have a decent amount of experience returning this season
“We have three juniors with tournament experience in Sabrina Bledsoe, Lucy LaDuke and Jamie McKuin,” Burton said.
The Lady Rams played and won their first tournament at the Simmons First tournament in El Dorado Monday. Johnson, LaDuke and the Bourland sisters represented the Lady Rams.
Staying focused and bouncing back helped Brooklyn Bourland in the tournament Monday.
“To bounce back I try not to get food,” she said. “I try to focus on positive things.”
Burton is in charge of both the boys and girls teams at Lakeside, so organization is key for the first year head coach.
“It just kind of falls into place,” he said. “They are all doing the same thing. It just takes just a little organization.”
Burton said there should be a lot of competition for five spots each match on the boys team at Lakeside. Seniors Hunter Little and Graham Dolan and junior Maddox Bell are expected to have good seasons for the Rams.
Little is humble about his tee shot but highlighted his putting game.
“(My tee shot is) OK I guess,” he said. “Longest putt I have made is probably 30 or 35 feet. Mystic is my favorite course. Everyone hates it, but I kind of like it.”
The boys’ roster is filled with capable players.
“Which is great,” Burton said. “Juniors Kanon Goss and Reed Yaney have some tournament experience as well and will be important for our success this year.”
Rounding out the juniors for the Rams are Eysa Chapman, Garrett Poole, Ben Jennings and Jarren Harvell. Seniors Carder Stephens, Towle Douglas and Bryce Browning add veteran experience to the squad.
Burton noted that sophomore Drew Kelly just joined the team and is working every day to get better.
Senior Devon Kessler brings a positive personality to the team.
“My greatest strength is being a leader and my personality,” Kessler said. “Always count on me. I am always there for everybody.”
Burton said Dolan and Huett have the longest drives while Gordon and Brooklyn Bourland have great short games.
“It’s all about work ethic,” Burton said. “The game of golf it’s kind of one of those things. You have to come to practice, but you have to put in time on your own playing, learning how to score and how to get out of situations.”
Burton already has a tournament victory to his name as head coach at Lakeside. Looking to continue that early season success, Lakeside hosts Little Rock Christian at Hot Springs Country Club today.