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20th Anniversary of the 2004 State Golf Title Revisited Presented by Dental Arts of Bixby

20th Anniversary of the 2004 State Golf Title Revisited 

By Brad Heath 

When coach John Federline won the 2003 state golf title, everyone close to the program felt this group could go on a run of two, three or even four titles. Some members of the team did go back-to-back in 2004, including the 2004 lone senior Bret Barber. 

Austin Osborn was a senior in 2003, which meant Bret Barber would lead a talented group in 2004 that included Tyler Hunt, Cade Lewis, Draegen Majors, and Logan Janes. Hunt finished third overall at the state tournament as a junior that season. Both Lewis and Janes were juniors as well, while Majors was a sophomore. 

The 2004 team was known for bringing great attitudes to the course and playing a laid-back style of golf. 

“Everyone’s personality on that team was pretty laid back from the start. Everyone on the team was capable of shooting in the low 70s any given round. Most teams had one or two guys that could put up a low score. So, it relieved a little pressure from each of us knowing that if we had an off day that the other four guys will likely pick up the slack,” said Barber. 

The short game was an area the team thrived at and helped them win a lot of matches.

“I wasn’t known for my short game, it never developed as well as the other guys. With Draegen, it was unreal. You would look over and see him sitting 40-plus yards short with a tough lie on some long holes, needing to get up and down for par. You knew you didn’t even have to watch him because it was going to be an automatic par every time. Seeing him play around the greens like that challenged us all, we didn’t like being out played by the youngest guy, but 90 percent of the time we were,” said Barber. 

That season, the Spartans only lost two tournaments on their way to the second state title. But at the state tournament, Barber almost missed a tee time. 

“One of the funniest memories for me is we were leading state after the first day. The second day, I don’t recall exactly why but we showed up late to the course. I literally had to get out of the van and go straight to the first tee. Some of the other teams looked at us like we’re being arrogant for just strolling up to the course late because we were in the lead,” said Barber. 

The level of competition in practice drove this team and no one wanted the burden of carrying a reminder of a bad round in a tournament. 

“The competition within our team was what really drove us each week. We had a ball of shame. Whoever shot the highest round in that week’s tournament got the “golden ball” a yellow ball that you had to hold on to until the next tournament. After a bad round of golf, the last thing you want is to have to carry a constant reminder of that round.” 

Barber was named to the All-State team that year. Barber said it was an honor to represent Bixby High School on the course one last time. 

“It was a great experience. Getting to play with the best seniors from all over the state. I believe I was the only player that decided not to play college golf, so it was my last competitive tournament,” said Barber. 

Coach Federline may not get enough credit for recognizing how this group needed to be coached. Barber said Federline knew exactly when to push and when to lay off. 

“He was a great coach to have. He was pretty laid back outside of the tournaments. With the skill level of our team at that time he knew just let us play as long as we keep winning. During the tournaments you would see his competitive side kick in and we would all feed off that. In golf having an aggressive overbearing coach doesn’t help the situation being that golf is largely a mental game. He had a great ability to know when and when not to interact with you on the golf course. In golf when you are on fire, you don’t want to jinx it or you are playing terrible, you don’t want to have to talk about it,” said Barber. 

What made the group special was the talent level, the coaching, and the ability to play the game with less pressure than other teams. Something that was not lost on Barber and his teammates. 

“The odds of getting five high school kids that can shoot low numbers consistently on the same team doesn’t happen often and then being able to compete in practice against each other just drove each of us to be better,” said Barber. 

After graduating from Bixby, Barber went on to attend Oklahoma State University where he studied mechanical engineering. Barber currently works for a defense contractor in Oklahoma. He did not play golf at OSU. 

The 2003 and 2004 golf titles are the only golf titles in school history.

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