Coming off a state championship, Lake Travis High School was in the midst of a girls golf state title three-peat, dominating its infamous rivalry with Westlake High School. Bentley Cotton was eager to defeat her childhood best friend, Macy Fox, who attended Lake Travis 12 miles away and bring a state championship back to Westlake.
“It’s like OU and Texas,” Cotton said. “Our football teams hate each other.”
For many years, the girls golf teams at each high school have battled it out on a state championship level. Dating back to 2015, Lake Travis and Westlake have enjoyed sustained success in the girls golf world with one of the two winning the state championship each year.
Now, Cotton and Fox wear burnt orange on the course together, putting the rivalry behind them and carrying on with their lasting friendship.
Both freshmen grew up in the Austin area and met each other before they were even tweens. Even though most of the fun was spent on the course, Fox said the pair’s friendship translated beyond the golf course to dinners or hangouts after rounds and practice.
“Our personalities are really similar to each other, so we’ve had that in common,” Fox said. “We’ve always liked to hunt and fish or just hangout outdoors. … We had a lot more in common than just golf.”
Texas head coach Ryan Murphy said he was very familiar with both high schools when recruiting Cotton and Fox.
“We don't put a lot of stock in (the rivalry),” Murphy said. “We just try to identify great players and bring them here, and if they fit our program, we try to get them here on our team.”
A competitive spirit fueled Cotton and Fox’s golf matches against each other on their respective teams throughout their high school careers, but the duo’s strong bond remained intact, Cotton said.
“We played a bunch of junior golf together and I think the first time I ever played, when I was really young, (Fox) was there,” Cotton said. “Although she went to Lake Travis, a rival school, we still had a great relationship and always have remained close friends.”
Murphy recruited current senior standout Kaitlyn Papp from Lake Travis when she was a nationally ranked player. Both he and Fox are aware of the local talent pool.
“I would say it is for sure one of the most competitive cities in the world golf based,” Fox said. “There's so much talent and just growing up around it definitely helped tremendously. It’s insane in Austin.”
Cotton, Fox and Papp all share an apartment together this year, which allows Papp to act as a mentor to the freshman duo. Fox is thankful for the chance to play with Papp again.
“It’s really good to get to see how she goes about practicing and how focussed and driven she is,” Fox said.
Papp and Fox won the state title together at Lake Travis during the Cavaliers’ state title in 2017.
Even though the pair still competed against each other at the time, Murphy said he could feel the tightness and connection between Cotton and Fox when they were around each other for campus visits.
“You can put that word ‘rivalry’ in quotation marks for those two,” Murphy said.