Two college commits, Tyler Vassar and Isaac Buerger were matching each other shot-for-shot in Monday’s Redmond Invitational.
Vassar, a senior who signed a golf scholarship to North Idaho College, outdueled Buerger, a Weber State commit, by three strokes with a two-under-par 70 for medalist honors at the par-72 Juniper Golf Course.
After last month’s TD Riverhawk Invitational, Vassar, a six-time medalist, three last season, had it on his mind to cut down more strokes to compete against solid competition.
A drop of 11 strokes was just what the doctor ordered.
“I would say the part that worked the best for me was definitely off the tee,” Vassar said. “Since struggling at our home debut, I felt I was really lacking and needed to make up some ground on from the tee box, and I feel my work really showed at this tournament as I hit many more fairways.”
Aidan Telles carded an 87 to place seventh overall, Spencer Taylor added a 107, Jonathan Snodgrass turned in a 110 and David Adams shot his way to a 120.
Those scores gave The Dalles a total of 374 for fifth place in the team standings, behind Bend (342), Crook County (360), Hood River Valley (364), Ridgeview (364) and Redmond (407).
With Vassar and Telles in contention week-in and week-out, getting solid contributions out of Taylor and Snodgrass is important.
Although they added a combined 13 strokes from TD’s last tournament, Vassar feels that duo can get under 100 down the road.
“Jonathan and Spencer are the players that I really help with game knowledge and how to handle various situations,” Vassar said. “I believe that we can practice the right things and even contend for the league title if we drop our scores a bit lower across the board.”
On the individual side, Buerger had a one-over 73 to net runner-up status, Bend’s Parker Krovisky made it to third place with his 77 and Justin McMahon, from Ridgeview, took fourth place after a 78.
Crook County’s Brodie Kuizinger grabbed a tie for fifth place with Bend’s Tyler Boyd (82), Telles had an 87 to end up seventh and Hood River Valley’s Chad Klaas and Crook County’s Hagan Frith were tied for eighth place with their 88s.
Through two tournaments last year, Vassar averaged a 73 with one medalist victory, and he is at 75.5 so far, while picking up another top placing, which is encouraging.
“Playing well early definitely gives me confidence, but also motivates me to work even harder and never be satisfied, because I know I can shoot even lower,” Vassar said.
Following Friday’s match at Meadow Lakes, The Dalles is at Indian Creek Golf Course on Monday.
With four tournaments over the next two weeks, ahead of another home invitational on Monday, April 22, the players will be busy on the links.
“Thus far, the team has had some good progression since last season,” Vassar said. “With basically the same roster, the chemistry we have with each other is really strong, and as the most experienced player, I feel really lucky to have the guys I have around me.”