Reily ready for state golf tourney

Dwayne Wilder
For the Herald Democrat
Pottsboro junior Alli Reily will compete at the Class 3A state golf tourney starting on Monday.

POTTSBORO — It’s not something new for Alli Reily but after a one-year hiatus, she is excited nonetheless.

The Pottsboro junior is heading to the Class 3A state golf tournament for the second time and will step on the course at Shadow Glen Country Club in Manor, just outside of Austin, on Monday and Tuesday in her quest for the individual championship.

“I’m excited; I really want to see the competition at state,” Reily said. “I think I have a chance to place; maybe win.”

Also competing in the 3A state tourney are the Howe Lady Bulldogs — Katie Grogan, Kriston Harris, Reagan Troxtell, Brooke Robinson and Grace Brennan — who were the Region II team champs and made it to state for the eight time in 11 seasons.

Reily enters state as the Region II champion after she shot 73-72 for a two-day total of 145 that was six strokes in front of Katie Hart of Mount Pleasant Chapel Hill.

“I was impressed with myself that day. I was excited that I improved my score,” Reily said. “Katie is really good; we played together all day, which helped me a lot.”

As a freshman, Reily helped the Lady Cardinals reach state for the first time as a team. Pottsboro just missed getting a medal after a fourth-place finish and she ended up fifth in the individual standings and two strokes from a tie for third.

This trip includes all the experience she has gained by playing and studying the game since, even though the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the the regional and state tournaments last spring.

In the weeks since regionals, Reily has been practicing on local courses on par with Shadow Glen. She likes that the ‘greens are similar.

“Alli is a great kid; works hard. She is always excited to play,” Pottsboro gold coach Joe Barnett said. “She has a good chance to win it (state); she loves competition and there will be some great competition at state.

“And the most important thing is that she keeps her composure. She doesn’t let the last hole affect her.”

Golf is something that runs in the family. Her father Mark and older brother Austyn would play together and she would go to the course with them, something that started when she was eight years old.

“I spent my day on the course,’ she said.

It didn’t take long for Reily to realize golf was something she also wanted to pursue.

“It just came natural; this was for me,” she concluded early on. “I really like the mental part of golf; it’s like a test every time. It builds confidence. It’s a hard sport to play; it looks easy, but it’s not so easy. I feel good playing; and that’s cool for me.”

Then, Austyn became a two-time state champion during his time at Pottsboro. He now plays for the University of Houston and is second on the Cougars in scoring average leading into the NCAA Regionals later this month.

“I was in the eighth grade when he won the first time,” Reily remembered. “I thought I want to be like him one day.”

Reily has dreams of playing in college; maybe even go pro someday. ‘We’ll see what happens,’ she said.

Those are lofty goals down the road for someone who still has another year of high school. She has met most of her goals so far this spring.

“My goals were to win district; win regionals and win state this year,” Reily said. “I really want to accomplish that last one.”

Golf has become a passion for Reily in her young life. She is already philosophical about it and wants to remain true to her sport for as long as she plays.

“In life, it is what appeals to you; what makes you feel,” she explained. “Golf is it for me; it’s the atmosphere; it’s the challenge; it’s the friends I’ve made; it’s the competition. I don’t want to be anywhere else.”

And early next week, Alli Reily will be right where she’s meant to be.