Down seven strokes through one day, The Dalles golfer Aidan Telles planned on playing his normal game, while also taking more calculated risks to get a chance at creeping closer to the top of the leaderboard.
Telles totaled 159 through two rounds, as he followed up his 77 with a 10-over par 82 on the second day to lock down a ninth-place tie with Marist’s Justin Potwora at the 5A OSAA state championships ending Tuesday at Emerald Valley Golf Club in Creswell.
“I came back on the second day determined to do better than the first day,” Telles said. “I definitely think that I took a lot of chances than I did strategic shots, because I wanted to win more than ever. Even though a lot of those chances were mistakes, it gave me the experience and drive to come back next year to win it all.”
As part of Monday’s season-best 77, Telles had two birdies, nine pars and seven bogeys.
He added seven bogeys, two double bogeys, eight pars and a birdie to notch an 82 in the final round.
Overall, Telles posted five pars, a bogey, two double bogeys and a birdie on the front-nine for his 40 and then put up six of his bogeys and three pars on the back-nine to get a 42.
“This experience has taught me so much about the game and how to play it,” Telles said. “It has taught me to never give up, even when the stakes are high, and to stand strong when you don’t pull out a win.”
Coach Dan Telles said the greens were even faster on the second day and the pins were placed along the edges of the greens on several holes, so it made one of the toughest, if not the toughest, courses in the state that much more difficult, in terms of course management and placing the ball in the right positions.
“His shots were a little awry early, but he settled down and just kept grinding it out,” coach Telles said. “It was a good tournament for him. He is improving as a player. He needs to realize that he has the potential to accomplish a lot more as a golfer.”
Marist’s John Pollock and Thurston’s Tyler Garner were 1-2 entering final-round play, with Pollock leading after a two-under par 70 by one stroke over Garner (71).
Garner made up the difference with a 73 to Pollock’s 75 to pick up a state-winning total of 144, one stroke better than the Marist senior (145).
Matt Werner (La Salle Prep) carded a 147 to grab third place, Thurston’s Andrew Watts placed fourth (152) and Isaac Buerger, from Ridgeview, ended up fifth with a 155.
Churchill’s Dylan Adams (156), Summit’s William Fleck (157), and Marist’s Nick Watts (158) were the top-8 individuals.
Not only did Marist end Summit’s district reign, the 5A Special District 2 champions, put up a 324 on the second day to earn its 623 for a state championship by 20 shots over Summit (643), ending the Storm’s four-year title streak.
Thurston (643), Crescent Valley (685), Churchill (687) and Ridgeview (711) represented the top-6 schools.
Looking ahead to next spring, Aidan Telles and the rest of the varsity group are slated to return.
The sophomore wants his teammates coming back with a fire to acquire a spot at state, a goal Aidan feels is realistic.
“With all the kids, I hope they understand their potential, because they all have it,” coach Telles said. “It is all fundamentals, discipline, competing, making good decisions and knowing how to problem solve. If they focus on those, they will get better. It is important for them to keep playing too. We have a few of them that will be in tournaments this summer, so that will get them better for next season.”
Knowing that he is a state qualifier in his first two years as a high school player is something Aidan takes pride in.
As he approaches upperclassmen status in 2019, there will be greater expectations to meet or surpass his accomplishments.
“My dad and coach, Dan Telles, raised me to always work hard and to never put pressure on myself,” Aidan said. “I think now that pressure is not part of the sport, it’s a part of you, so the only way that anybody can really be pressured is if they put it on themselves. In golf, some people have to remain focused at all times, but they still somehow get pressured.
“I just focus on the positives and remember that I just want to do the thing that I love and have fun doing it.”
The district will undergo a facelift of sorts with Bend and Summit, to name a few, moving up to 6A.
Joining The Dalles in the Intermountain Conference are Hood River Valley, Pendleton, Ridgeview, Redmond and Crook County.
Coach Telles has mixed feelings about the changes, where on one end, he will miss the fact that Bend and Summit brought the best out of his players.
Now, The Dalles figures to be in the new district picture with a chance to experience more success.
“The competitiveness, you are always going to miss, because you always want to play against the best,” coach Telles said.
“At the same time, it is also a relief knowing that we will actually have a shot at a district championship as a team, instead of just qualifying for state as individuals.”