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Cougars do it again!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

You can now call the Izard County Cougars back-to-back champions.

Paced by their senior left-hander, Preston Harmon, the Cougars notched their second straight Class 1A State Golf Tournament title, Oct. 4, at The Course on Turkey Mountain in Horseshoe Bend.

Harmon shot an even-par 73 to earn medalist honors in the event, helping Izard County trim 17 strokes off their title-winning score at The Course on Turkey Mountain a year ago.

This year, the Cougs carded a 254, followed by the Concord Pirates' 261.

Concord, which came in third in the state tourney last year knocked off Izard County twice leading up to this year's final day of play, including once just a month ago, in a match that was also in Horseshoe Bend.

According to Cougar Head Coach David Harmon, that might have accutally played into Izard County's favor heading into the state tournament.

"We knew we were defending state champs and would be until someone knocked us off but, early this year, Concord came up here to our Cougar Classic and just dominated everything and beat us by close to 30 strokes," he said. "And I think that might have taken the target off our back and placed it on them."

Izard County did go on to redeem itself after that match in the Cougar Classic by edging Concord to win the Cougars' second straight White River Water Carnival championship in Batesville just after that.

Izard County senior Uriah Mead finished with an 87 at the state tourney, and will join Harmon at the Overall Golf Tournament at Little Rock's Pleasant Vally Country Club Oct. 13.

"It's exciting (to have two golfers make it to the Overall). It's a really nice honor," Coach Harmon said. "I'm really happy for Uriah. He's spent a lot of time trying to improve his game the last two or three years and that's a nice reward for him. Preston got to experience it last year, so he knows a little bit about it. You've basically got the best 21 players in Arkansas going head-to-head."

Coach Harmon's daughter -- Preston's big sister -- Rachel, played in the Overall Tournament in three of her four years of golfing at Izard County. She's now a standout golfer at Henderson State University, and won the school's first-ever Gulf South Conference Freshman of the Year Award.

Zack Logan posted a 94 for the Cougs, good for eighth-place in Horseshoe Bend.

Harmon, Mead and Logan all played their way to the All-State team.

Chris Mosely carded a 109 for the Cougars.

"I thought we needed to shoot a 240 to win (the state tournament) and the reason I thought that was becuase Concord is capable of going out there and putiing three scores of 80 together. They're that good," Coach Harmon said. "The score that we ended up shooting, I would have thought that was good for second place."

Concord's Ryan Cornelison came in second to Harmon individually, finishing with an 80. He also earned an invite to the Overall Tourney.

The Shirley Blue Devils finished third with a 292, followed by the Ridgefield Christian Warriors, last year's runners-up, with a 306. The Lead Hill Tigers rounded out the top five with a 319.

Mulberry's Seth Fisher came in fourth individually with an 88, while Shirley's Cory Ward shot an 89 to finish fifth.

Viola's Skylar Robbins finished in a tie for seventh with a 91 and was also named All-State.

Izard county finished this season with an impressive match record of 46-7 and although a pair of those losses came at the hands of the Concord Pirates, the Cougars found a way to put those defeats in the rearview mirror, winning the one that really counted.

"I kind of downplayed it (the losses to Concord in the regular season), but Preston and I kind of talked about it in private and he knew he needed to go low," said Coach Harmon. "But the rest of the kids, I didn't really emphasize a whole lot about what kind of score I needed them to shoot, because I didn't want them to have that presuure on them and have them to start pressing when it got down to the last few holes. I wanted them to be as loose as they could and I tried to build them up as much as I could going into the last two or three weeks and things played out well for us."

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