The Dalles sophomore Aidan Telles carded a season-best 5-over par 77 for a seventh-place tie, seven strokes behind overall Leader, Marist’s John Pollock, in opening-round action at the OSAA 5A boys’ golf state championships Monday on the Emerald Valley Golf Club course in Creswell.
“I feel great about my score today,” Telles said. “The course was playing very fast, but once I caught a rhythm, I started picking up my game.”
On his first 18 holes, Telles had two birdies, nine pars and seven bogeys, as he started the round bogeying three of the first four holes, until settling in for a 1-under over the next five holes to shoot 38 on the front end.
On the back-nine, Telles bogeyed three of the first four holes, but then hit on four consecutive pars and sank a birdie putt on the par-5 18 for his two-over 38.
Telles’ 77 has him in a three-way tie with Andrew Watts (Thurston) and Nick Watts (Marist).
Even with the seven bogeys, three on the back-nine, Telles is feeling good about his game and is not worrying about a handful of missed opportunities.
“I like to feel optimistic and not to worry about the shots that I leave on the course, because then I can focus a lot more,” Telles said.
Pollock, out of Marist, posted a two-under par 70 to jump ahead by a one-stroke margin over Thurston’s Tyler Garner (71).
La Salle Prep’s Matt Werner (72) was third, and Marist’s Arnau Reddy (74), Ridgeview’s Isaac Buerger (75), and Summit’s William Fleck (76) made up the top-6 individuals.
Telles said that his drive was consistent through the first round, but wanted to shore up his putting a little more if he hopes to make a run at the leaders.
Although he is looking up at a seven-shot deficit, the goal is to pick his spots in terms of being aggressive or conservative.
There is no need to be reckless, however.
“I feel like I play it safe a lot of the time, but when I need to, I will take risks that will benefit me in the long run,” Telles said.
Marist, the 5A Special District 2 champions, combined for a 299 to gain a 19-stroke lead over Summit (318).
Thurston (334), Crescent Valley (338), Churchill (342), Corvallis (352), Wilsonville (352) and Ridgeview (353) represented the top-8 in the team standings.
On the same course last week in district action, Telles put up an opening-day 82 and was tied for eighth place, and then followed that up with an 84 to get his 166 and a tie for ninth place.
Shaving down five strokes off that 82 is an encouraging sign, especially with ideal weather conditions and little wind affecting his drives and chips.
The fast greens and deep greenside bunkers will cause some concerns.
The Dalles head coach Dan Telles now wants Aidan to start the next round like he finished.
“Once he started to trust his shots, he played well,” coach Telles said. “He had a few bad positions on approach shots, but held it together to record his season-best score.”
This season, The Dalles had plenty of challenges in tough tournaments against high-level programs, which is beneficial in many aspects.
Aidan also credits a lot of his progression to his older siblings, all previous state placers, and his father and coach, Dan, so when he is competing against some of the best golfers across the state, his intensity ramps up.
“Playing with them has definitely taught me a lot,” Aidan said. “They taught me how to play under the pressure and to have fun doing it, and they also told me that no matter if I win or lose, the experience is all that really matters. But, even if that’s true, I’m still not going to back down from trying to win state.”