By BRETT MARSHALL

bmarshall@gctelegram.com

When Olivia Ortega and Mackenzie Becker completed their high school golf career in October of 2013 with individual medal finishes, the next step was deciding if they would play college golf, and if so, where.

Those two decisions were confirmed on Wednesday, when the two Holcomb High School golfers signed NJCAA letters-of-intent to play at Dodge City Community College in the fall of 2014.

"Anytime you can send girls on to the next level, it's a good feeling," Holcomb High School girls coach Scott Stegman said on Thursday. "They've both made good progress and worked hard. It's great to see them have an opportunity to play, and also to help them with their education."

Ortega was a freshman team member when the Lady Longhorns captured the Class 3-2-1A state championship and saw her upperclassman teammate Amy Stegman head off to Dodge City to compete.

Ortega and Becker become the fifth and sixth HHS girls golfers to compete for the Lady Conquistadors, who are coached by Ed Bethea, and have won numerous Region 6 championships.

This past season, Ortega placed 11th at the state tournament, and had season low rounds of 45 for nine holes and 95 for 18 holes. In her junior season, she had her best score and finish when she shot an 87 at Buffalo Dunes Golf Course and placed fifth in the Garden City Invitational against mostly higher-classification schools.

Becker, meanwhile, also improved her golf each season, moving from the junior varsity as a freshman into a three-year varsity golfer.

Her senior season, Becker placed fifth in the Great West Activities Conference tournament and was sixth at the Class 3-2-1A state at The Golf Club at Southwind with a score of 94.

"Anytime you break 90 at Buffalo Dunes, you've played a good round," Stegman said of Ortega's junior season performance.

Stegman said by the time the two girls had learned that nearby Garden City Community College was starting a program in the fall of 2014, they had made verbal commitments to Dodge City. And those commitments came prior to GCCC making its announcement on Thursday of hiring a new full-time coach in Matt Christian.

"I think they felt strongly about keeping their commitment, so it just was never a consideration to talk to Garden," Stegman said.

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