Merkel boys, Hilburn eager to grab medals at UIL State golf

Hilburn and Badgers eye medal at state

MERKEL, TX - When it comes to golf, the Merkel High School boys program has been on top of it the last few years. In 2017, its business as usual, but it took a solid performance to get there.

After struggling on day one of regionals, Merkel shaved 17 strokes off its score, led by its number one golfer Colton Hilburn who rallied after an 81 to shoot a 71 on day 2.

Merkel makes its third-straight trip to the state tournament, a hefty achievement for any program, but there's a lot of motivation. They've finished as high as fifth, and this year, they want more.

"I just told our other guys to just worry about their game, their score," said junior Parker Doan. "We have a lot of experience and I think we have a great shot to medal this year."

For its leader, the 2017 tournament also brings back some tough memories. Hilburn came home a close second in the individual medalist race last year. It's something that he says, is hard to get over.

"It plays in the back of my mind," he said. "I know that I can do a little bit better this year and maybe get the title."

What's different this year for him?

I'm way more controlled and even smarter with the way I play golf," Hilburn said.

Doan, who's been Hilburn's teammate since freshman year, says his relationship with Colton has helped him grow his game even more.

"He's like my brother," said Doan. "We do everything practice-wise together. He helps me with my swing and videos it and I do the same for him. We've grown up together on the golf course."

The 3A state title gets underway on Monday morning at Grey Rock in Austin.




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