West's Hawes caps off great start with long putt
By TAYLOR MITCHELL - TMITCHELL@VICAD.COM
Jan. 25, 2013 at 10:01 p.m.
Updated Jan. 24, 2013 at 7:25 p.m.
Shannon Hawes had been playing for nearly five hours when he faced a 25-foot putt on the 18th green of the Victoria Country Club.
The Victoria West senior had no way of knowing how close his team was to first place at its own tournament.
But he knew every stroke counted.
"It was important," Hawes said. "I didn't know how the other teams did yet, but one stroke counts that much in these things."
Hawes drained the uphill putt from 25 feet away, drawing a nice cheer from both spectators and opposing players as Hawes closed out his day with a first round score of 77 at the Victoria West Spring Classic.
"I knew if I hit it firm and on the right line, the grain would just take right into the hole," Hawes said. "About halfway through I felt good about it and just raised my putter and got a cheer from the crowd. That's always exciting."
That one stroke proved critical in positioning West for a tournament victory when the venue shifts to The Club at Colony Creek on Saturday.
The Warriors ended Friday with a 339 team total, just one stroke behind co-leaders Corpus Christi Incarnate Word and San Antonio MacArthur.
Hawes' 77 turned in the third lowest score of the day. Churchill's Cole Donielson finished with a 75 and MacArthur's Alan Hockersmith was second with a 76.
"Shannon was ready to play today," said West head coach Fred Neuman. "A lot of things fell into place for Shannon. It definitely is going to boost and, hopefully, him and the team can go to Colony and have a good day."
"The driver was on today and the irons were perfect too," Hawes said. "The putter was just extra. I couldn't ask for anything much better."
Hawes, West's No. 1 golfer, knows he'll need another good showing on Saturday. However, he doesn't feel the same pressure he felt going into the first round on Friday.
"I don't feel like I have to go out and do what I did today. Of course, I have to go out there and do it, but I feel like it'll come easier," Hawes said. "I feel like, to do what I did today, I won't have to try as hard."
If the name Hawes sounds familiar when it comes to Victoria golf, it should. His older brother, Sean, was one of the top golfers for Memorial when he graduated in 2009.
"My brother was pretty good," Hawes said. "He won district a couple of times with Memorial and they went to regionals a couple times, too."
Sean, a senior at Texas A&M, and Shannon never played together on a golf team because of their age difference. But there isn't much doubt the older Hawes had an effect on his younger brother.
"Sean played on a good team and also contributed on a good team. That helped Shannon to play and have a good high school career because of what he saw from others around him," Neuman explained. "He also saw his brother do very well in the classroom and Shannon also does well in the classroom."
Hawes will have an opportunity to continue to build his own legacy as a high school golfer when the tournament shifts to The Club at Colony Creek.
"Definitely doesn't make it easier," Hawes said. "Colony has a lot of different characteristics about it. It's more open and windy. The greens are a lot different, the fairways are different and the way the ball bounces is different."
Earlier in the season, the Warriors found themselves in a similar position at a tournament at Colony Creek.
At the East Varsity Boys Invitational Tournament, West trailed the first place team by two strokes. The Warriors failed to gain any ground on Corpus Christi King on the second day, falling five strokes short of the tournament victory. Hawes, himself, finished the first day with a 77, but dropped a pair of strokes on the second day.
"We'll see if they learn from that headed in to the second day tomorrow," Neuman said after the first day scores were posted Friday. "We'll find out Saturday."