Midlothian

If there were any expectations, the Midlothian High School girls golf team would have exceeded them.

The Panthers sit in third place after scoring a 321 (+33) on Monday during the first day of the UIL Girls Golf Class 5A State Tournament at White Wing Golf Club in Georgetown. Grapevine High School leads the way at 305 (+17) with two athletes at the top of the individual standings. Midlothian is only one stroke behind second-place Magnolia High School.

“Honestly, we came in with no expectations,” first-year coach Carly Dear said. “We were just here to have fun.”

Although the Panthers’ girls golf program is new to the state tournament, standout Jasmine Zhang returned after qualifying last season as a junior. Zhang, who’s committed to play at the University of Tulsa after graduation, claimed the regional title to earn another chance at a state title.

Zhang posted an even 72 on the first day, putting her tied for fourth with two other contestants. Grapevine’s Gabriella Tomanka is on top with a 69 (-3). Only one stroke separates Zhang from second place, where Magnolia’s Halle Whitney and Tomanka’s teammate Anna Takahashi are tied at 71 (-1).

“Jasmine did not play very good today,” Dear said. “And she’s still in fourth, if that says anything about her game.

“I’m confident she can come out tomorrow and make a big move.”

Dear’s confidence with her team doesn’t stop with Zhang. After leaving Midlothian with no expectations, Dear firmly believes her team has a chance at the crown when the tournament ends Tuesday despite being newbies.

“We didn’t seem nervous,” Dear said. “We had fun. But we also didn’t play our best today. If we play our best (Tuesday), I think we have a shot.”