It was a case of good news and bad news.
The Dalles Wahtonka boy’s golfers had one player end up in 10th place and three others shoot career-bests enroute to a season-low 344 in the opening round of district golf action in Umatilla.
The 344 was 16 strokes better than their previous best of 360, but even though the Eagle Indians shot the lights out, they were 34 strokes behind both Pendleton (310) and Hermiston (310), which ended up in a tie for first place in the team rankings.
“I am very impressed with how our team came out today and handled this course. It is an encouraging sign to see them really figure things out like they did,” said TDW coach Kent Smith. “You could see they were focused on the course and were in control for the most part.”
Freshman Bailey Ortega spearheaded this Tribe march with his lowest number of the season at 82, just 10 strokes behind pacesetter, Pendleton’s Walker Hoolehan (72).
Nick Glesener kept his good momentum moving with an 84 and senior Dylan Fitzgerald added another personal record to his trophy case with an 88.
Coby Conlee signed a 90 to his scoresheet and Dakota Green muscled home a 96 to give TDW its 344.
After Hoolehan, former The Dalles Wahtonka golfer Danny Kuechmann put it all together for second place with his 75 and Hermiston’s J.D. Thacker ended up third at 76.
Keegan Kraston, of Hermiston, Pendleton’s Riley Hagerty and teammate Pyper McCallum wound up in a three-way tie for fifth place with their 77 tallies.
There are 18 holes left to play and a lot can change in a span of 15 minutes, an hour and 18 holes, so there is hope for Kent that his group continues its charge.
“We need to keep our heads on straight and not think about who we are chasing, but rather focus on stroke-by-stroke,” Smith added. “We showed we could more than compete with these players with the scores we put up. I just want to see them drop a few more down and hope it is good enough for them to get to state. Tomorrow (Tuesday) is the exciting time for everyone. We will see.”
Surprises abound on girl’s golf side
Hood River Valley emerged as a major surprise Monday at the Columbia River Conference girl’s golf district championships.
Three players ended up in the top-5, which put them in first place in the team standings after one day at Big River Golf Course Monday in Umatilla.
“Nobody expected Hood River to come out play like that, but they came out strong,” said The Dalles Wahtonka head golf coach Dan Telles. “But, that goes to show that anything can happen at districts. If you can get hot and stay hot, you have a chance. They were able to do it today.”
Telles still had Elizabeth Peters and Jessica Riggs knocking on the proverbial state door in an eighth-place tie with identical scores of 101 through one day of play, six strokes behind Hood River Valley’s Corey Cimock (95), who grabbed fifth place.
In order to earn a state berth as individuals, the top five scores from complete teams that did not finish 1-2 in the standings punch tickets.
“They are right there,” Telles said of Riggs and Peters. “They realize what they need to do of they want to make it. I think they can definitely cut between 5-10 strokes off their totals and get in, it depends on how everyone else does.”
Hermiston’s Madison Welch led the field with her 81 and Pendleton’s Shelby Greb slugged out an 84 for second place.
Hood River’s Alisha Hay (92) and Laura Waller (92) were deadlocked in third and Cimock added a 95 for fifth place to put the Lady Eagles at a 389 for top recognition.
Hermiston (399), Pendleton (401) and TDW (467) rounded out the standings.
Also for TDW, Jennifer Bonham churned out a 128 and newcomer Ally Macnab etched a 137 to her final scorecard.