Estes hopes to finish at state like he started

Dwayne Wilder
For the Herald Democrat
Pottsboro senior Jack Este will compete at the Class 3A state golf tournament for the third time in his career.

POTTSBORO — For the third and final time in his career, Pottsboro senior Jack Estes will be competing at the state golf tournament; not bad for someone who only began playing seriously his freshman year.

If not for COVID-19 pandemic cancelling the state tourney last year, this might be his fourth trip to state.

“I would play sometimes with my dad before high school, but nothing regularly,” Estes said. “Then, I played some tournaments my freshman year; and that was it. I was all in.”

He was a part of the Cardinals winning the Class 3A state championship as a freshman, the school's first team state title since 1972, and then Pottsboro returned to defend its title in 2019 and came up one stroke short and had to settle for silver.

This time, however, Estes will be by himself when he tees it up at ShadowGlen Golf Club in Manor, just outside of Austin, in the first round of the 3A tournament on Monday.

Another Texoma entry at state is the Bells squad of Ben Stephens, Wyatt Stephens, Kollin Kumler, Jonathan Cox and Drake Stephens. The Panthers finished third in the Region II team standings to advance.

Estes was fifth in the individual standings to earn the second of three medalist spots for the state tourney.

“I like his chances; if he can play well at the beginning of Day One, he’ll have a chance to win it all,” Pottsboro head coach Joe Barnett said. “The fast greens at ShadowGlen will help Jack; it fits his style.”

He will get to play a practice round on Sunday before the tournament begins.

“This is my first time at ShadowGlen; I’ll get the lay of the course on Sunday,” Estes said. “Then, I’ll be ready.”

Estes, who will play at Hardin-Simmons University, acknowledges that being at this level is a big accomplishment and he is super excited to qualify.

“At regionals, I didn’t do great at first,” he said. “But things started to click and I really hit the ball well after that. Sometimes, that happens to me, but I stay with it and make the most of it.”

At the Region II tournament, Estes was 11 strokes over par after the first 10 holes. He stormed back and was only five over par in the final 25 holes in move into the top five.

“That’s one thing about Jack; he can struggle early in a round and come back strong,” Barnett said. “He knows how to calm down when things aren’t going so well; and come through at the end.”

It may be a different feel that his previous trips to state but Estes feels he is ready for this moment.

“I feel great; golf is relaxing. It’s a fun sport,” he said. “I like that it’s an individual sport; you can only rely on yourself to see if you are good or not. It certainly is a challenge. I love hitting those drivers.”

It should be no surprise to hear that about Estes, who has been driven to compete on the biggest state throughout his time with the Cardinals.