POTTSBORO — Since the moment he first stepped on the course wearing Cardinal red and while, Garrett Townsend has been competing at the highest levels of high school golf.

Pottsboro has been one of the best Class 3A programs in his first three seasons and another strong spring is expected. His performances on these stages, and during the summer months, have brought both team and individual success he hopes to continue after graduation as Townsend signed his letter of intent to play golf for Dallas Baptist University.

He chose the Patriots, a Division II program, over Mary Hardin-Baylor and Southwestern.

“The visits were the biggest thing. They showed what they had to offer,” Townsend said. “DBU had it all. Very nice facilities. They had more than some of the Division I programs I talked with.”

Townsend will be leading a program seeking its fourth straight state tournament appearance. The first three came with Austyn Reily, who won two straight individual 3A state titles, as the team’s No. 1 player and is now at Houston after closing out his stellar high school career.

Townsend was always slotted in the spot behind Reily and now shoulders the burden along with classmate junior Jack Estes, who has played at state every year, in bringing along three new faces to the varsity lineup.

“It’s going to be tougher this year but I’ve tried to keep them focused. They just need tournament experience,” Townsend said. “If we all come together and work hard, we can make it to state again. That’s the goal.”

Pottsboro finished as the state runner-up this past spring and missed back-to-back titles by a single stroke with a 628 that was just behind Columbus. Townsend finished with a 154 and in a three-way tie for ninth place.

He was fifth at the Region II meet as the Cardinals won their second straight region crown.

The highlight of Townsend’s career came during his sophomore year when the Cardinals led wire-to-wire in winning the Class 3A state championship and becoming the first team sport to win a title at Pottsboro since the 1972 crown in boys basketball.

He tied teammate Hayden Kent for 14th place with matching 157s in helping the Cards to a combined 621 that was nine shots better than defending champ Troup.

“Great memories,” Townsend said. “Not everybody gets the chance to win a state championship. We knew my sophomore year we had a good shot at winning.”

As a freshman, Townsend finished fifth at the region meet and Pottsboro was the Region II runner-up before finishing third at state to take the bronze medal. He tied for 32nd at state with a two-day total of 169. His success came after he got back into the sport after not playing at all from the age of eight up until ninth-grade.

“Didn’t even pick up a club. Started back eighth-grade summer. Austyn got me back into golf and I’m so thankful to him for it,” Townsend said.

Dallas Baptist competes in the Heartland Conference and has won three conference titles, the last being back-to-back in 2015-16, and this past season finished seventh. In the previous 13 seasons the Patriots have made the NCAA Division II Super Regional seven times, including a stretch from 2013-17, and had six individuals also advance to NCAA championship competition. Dallas Baptist was 10th in the country when it advanced to the National tournament for the first time in 2016 and the team won the National Christian College Athletic Association title in 2009.

“I wanted to go somewhere where we could compete on the national level,” Townsend said.