Golfers from all four local high schools teed off this week against the best the Evergreen State has to offer.
Prep golfers from White River, Bonney Lake, Enumclaw and Sumner headed across Snoqualmie Pass to challenge the fields in the Class 4A, 3A and 2A state tournaments. Each was a two-day affair, kicking off Tuesday and finishing today, Wednesday.
The Class 4A tourney is in the Spokane area, with boys playing the Liberty Lake course and girls at MeadowWood; the Class 3A tourney is in the Tri-Cities, with boys playing Columbia Point in Richland and the girls at Canyon Lakes in Kennewick; and the 2A tournament in Spokane has boys at The Creek at Qualchan and girls at Indian Canyon.
Prep golf in this part of Washington is a two-part program, with regular seasons contested in the fall and state competition in the spring. While top golfers earn state berths during medalist tournaments at the conclusion of the fall season, others received a second chance during a spring qualifier. That tourney was played May 15 for 4A and 3A schools and May 16 for 2A golfers, all at the Gold Mountain complex in Bremerton.
White River girls playing this week in Spokane are Taylee Goethals, Georgia Lavinder, Sofia Lavinder and Taylor Spooner, all juniors who qualified in the fall, and Emma McGregor.
McGregor earned her state berth at the spring qualifier, shooting 102 on Gold Mountain’s Cascade Course and finishing third in a field of 18 golfers. She had the day’s best round on the front nine, carding a 49. After 18 holes, the top six advanced.
Two other Hornet girls played in the qualifier. Megan Cash, a junior, finished at 110 and sophomore Alex Frederick was a shot behind at 111.
Competing at state on the boys side are junior Cooper Franklin, sophomore Joe Flanigan and sophomore Brock Keller, who qualified in the fall. This marks Franklin’s third state appearance; it’s the second for Flanigan and first for Keller.
Getting another crack at the state tourney during the spring qualifier were Drew Thompson, Tanner Penrose and Blake Coogan, but none advanced. Thompson shot 106 on Gold Mountain’s Olympic Course, Penrose carded a 110 and Coogan came in at 122.
Of the 23 golfers in the qualifier, eight earned state berths.
Jared Beals, Kidder McKee and Matt Hodgman are playing in Spokane, having assured their entry into the state tournament last fall. Beals and McKee are seniors and Hodgman is a junior.
Senior Andrew Littman had earned a slot in the qualifying tournament. With 82 being the cut-off point, he finished at 89 and did not advance to state.
Preparing for state, Beals, McKee and Hodgman played May 16 in the sixth annual Kingco Invitational at West Seattle Golf Course. They competed against 10 other schools from the Puget Sound regional who had qualified for the state tourney.
The Hornet trio placed third, trailing Bellarmine Prep and Newport. Individually, Beals finished fourth, shooting a 2-over-par 74.
For the EHS girls golf program, senior Lexi DeChon is again playing in the Class 4A state tournament. This marks a third consecutive appearance at state for DeChon, who will be taking her game to Idaho State University in the fall.
DeChon had a recent thrill at Spokane’s MeadowWood course, nailing the first hole-in-one of her golfing career. She had traveled May 12 to Spokane for a practice round at MeadowWood, playing with her father and assistant coach Bill DeChon. She aced the par-3, 113-yard 17th hole, using a nine iron.
Three EHS girls competed May 15 in the spring qualifier at Gold Mountain but none advanced to the state tourney. Freshman Emma Murphy shot a personal best round of 97, sophomore Taylor Anglin finished at 100 and senior Maddison Gates ended at 101.
Senior Bryson Wilhite won a playoff in the fall to finish seventh at the medalist tournament and gain automatic entry to the state tourney in the Tri-Cities.
This marks the fifth year in a row that Bonney Lake has had an entry in the boys state tournament.
Hoping to join Wilhite three Panther boys who will played May 15 in the spring qualifier at Gold Mountain, seniors Michael Korum and Kyle Jung, along with junior Eric Hughes. They were part of a field of 14, all vying for the final nine state berths.
Korum shot an 88 at Gold Mountain to finish 10th, making him the first alternate to state. If someone in the original state field could not appear, Korum was ready to play.
The Spartan program had three golfers participating in the spring qualifier, hoping to land a spot in the state tournament.
On the boys side, sophomore Alec LaBarge fired a round of 78 to tie for seventh place, thus earning a state trip.
Playing in the girls qualifier were juniors Abby Burns and Anna Seaton. Neither made the cut; Seaton finished at 92 and was the third alternate and Burns completed her round at 95.
At Gold Mountain, 39 boys competed for 13 state berths and 36 girls chased a dozen slots into state.