A trio of local youth golfers made the trek last week to Washington’s Palouse country, where they competed in junior championships hosted by the Pacific Northwest Golf Association.
In the field were White River High students Zach Miller, Brooke Gelinas and Brooke Mahler. They joined top-flight junior golfers hailing from Washington, Oregon and Idaho who gathered for the 66th Junior Boys’ Amateur Championship and the 65th Junior Girls’ Amateur.
Both tournaments were staged at Palouse Ridge Golf Club in Pullman.
Miller, an incoming junior at White River High School, joined a starting field of 92 participants. Following two days of stroke play he wound up in a tie for 16th place, easily qualifying for the match play portion of the tournament. He had opened the tourney Aug. 16 by carding a 1 under par 71, which put him in a tie for 10th place, and followed that with a round of 75 on Day 2.
In the match play round of 32, contested early on Aug. 18, he was ousted by Brock Maulding from Lake Tapps.
On the girls’ side, Gelinas opened with a round of 84 and followed up with a stellar 78 to make the cut and enter match play. Once there, she was eliminated by top-rated Kennedy Knox of Normandy Park, Washington.
Mahler was limited to two days of competition. Starting with an 83 and then adding an 86, she finished tied for 18th. From a field of 30, only the top 16 headed into match play.
The White River trio are coming off impressive high school campaigns. Due to COVID safety protocols, their seasons concluded in April – not with a state tournament but, rather, a two-day, all-league tourney. Playing the Eagle’s Pride course in DuPont, Miller handily won the boys’ tournament; among the league’s girls, Gelinas (an incoming senior) took top honors and Mahler (incoming senior) was a close second.
The PNGA Junior Boys’ Amateur and Junior Girls’ Amateur traditionally attract the strongest fields of the season from throughout the Northwest.
Palouse Ridge Golf Club, which opened in 2008, has been the site of numerous state and regional championships, as well as many USGA qualifiers. As the home course for the Washington State University men’s and women’s golf teams, it also has hosted numerous collegiate events, including the 2019 NCAA West Regionals.
The Pacific Northwest Golf Association, founded in February 1899, is a nonprofit, charitable, international, amateur golf association.