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Deere, Hoggatt ready for state play

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sikeston sophomore Evan Deere (left) and Kirk Hoggatt (right) earned births in the Class 3 State Tournament set for Monday and Tuesday at Island Green Golf Club, located outside Springfield. David Jenkins, Staff
SIKESTON -- Coming into the season, two of Sikeston golf coach Andy McGill's goals were to finish in the top five in districts and send at least two golfers to state. Last week the Bulldogs met those expectations.

As a team, the Bulldogs finished fourth in the Class 3, District 1 golf tournament held at Crown Pointe Golf Club in Farmington. In the process, sophomore Evan Deere and freshman Kirk Hoggatt qualified for the state tournament, Deere shooting an 81 to finish fourth and Hoggatt shot an 83 to finish fifth.

"Evan struck the ball real well, he just didn't score well," McGill said. "I'm real proud of Kirk. First of all, he came off with a 45 his first nine and then he shot 38 his second nine. He's been really inconsistent this whole year but when it really came down to it and he had to have a good score, he put a good score in at districts."

"I shot three strokes better the day before but I wasn't striking the ball as well when I started," Hoggatt said. "When we got into districts I started off bad but I came through strong and I feel like a played pretty decent."

Both Deere and Hoggatt battled course conditions that weren't ideal and were interrupted by weather delay.

"The course was in pretty decent shape but it was still a little bit damp so the rough up there was just as terrible as ever," Deere said. "I shot an 81 and I had shot a 75 up there earlier this year. I knew I was capable of shooting a little bit better, but I was happy with the score I shot."

"For the past three years we've had horrible conditions and this was the best the course has been, other than the rain delay," McGill said.

Deere will be making his second appearance at the state tournament, qualifying last year as a freshman. However nerves took their toll at state, as Deere shot a 93 on the first day and an 87 on the second day, placing 97th.

With a year of experience under his belt, Deere expects better results as state this time around.

"Last year I didn't do as well as I wanted to, but it was freshman year and I wasn't expecting too much," Deere said. "(This year) I would like to get top 30. It's a good goal because there are a lot of kids playing and some good talent up there."

"I want Evan to improve on what he did last year," McGill said. "I would love for him to get in the top 50. I think that is an attainable goal but he is going to have to play like he has the past three weeks. He is just striking the ball really well right now."

Hoggatt will be the second Bulldog freshman in-a-row to qualify for state, following in Deere's footsteps.

"I'm just excited," Hoggatt said. "Never having played in the state tournament I'm just looking forward to the experience. My putting was really good at districts and I think that will help me up at Island Green."

McGill said he doesn't have any expectations for the freshman, other than getting experience like Deere did last year.

"The key for Kirk is he put in a good score when it counted at districts and hopefully he can do the same for two more rounds," McGill said. "Him being a freshman and having that experience going to state is going to pay off in the long run."

With Deere competing last year as a freshman, Hoggatt has somebody to turn to for advice and tips along the way.

"I'm hoping Evan shows me a lot because he's been through this a lot and this is his second trip," Hoggatt said. "I hope we can build on this together."

Deere and Hoggatt will be competing May 17-18 at Island Green Golf Club, located outside Springfield. The challenging 7,000-plus yard course features Bermuda trees and fairways and bent grass greens.