In his career, Tyler Vassar tallied eight medalist titles, had two top-10 state finishes, and as a sophomore, he played a big part in helping The Dalles boys golf team to its best state outcome in program history, second place.
All of those positive memories will be his driving force at the collegiate level.
“I feel very satisfied with my time here and what I accomplished,” Vassar said. “I put in a bunch of work to get where I wanted, and I got out of it what I put in. There were some shots that I left on the table, but you cannot regret anything. If you think about those shots you missed and everything, you are never going to move on and play well at other tournaments. Having that mindset is a big reason for my success in high school.”
Tuesday, Vassar showed a two-shot improvement and ended up in an eighth-place tie with a 152, and Aidan Telles shot a five-over-par 76 for a two-day total of 148 and a third-place tie with Crescent Valley’s Matthew Zaback, 10 strokes behind state champ Isaac Buerger (138), of Ridgeview, at the 5A state championships at Trysting Tree Golf Club in Corvallis.
After 18 holes, Telles was tied for second place with Crescent Valley’s Michael Gray following a one-over-par 72, one shot behind Buerger, who had an even-par 71, and Vassar ended his opening round in eighth place with his one-day tally of 77.
For the tournament, Telles finished tied for the lead with seven birdies and added 18 pars on 36 holes, which put him in an eighth-place tie.
Telles credited his short game, especially since the pin locations on the course were in difficult places, which made things tough for several golfers.
“The short game, in my opinion, is the most important part of golf, and that’s what I’ve been working on the most this season, and it definitely paid off in the two days at state,” Telles said. “I feel like I could’ve done better, but, I am, of course, excited about how I placed individually because I discovered how far I can really push myself as a golfer in this division.”
Vassar had his best showing on par-5s, where he shot a four-under. On par-4s, the senior was at a plus-12, and he shot a plus-2 on par-3s, adding six birdies and 16 pars.
“I made some birdies, so I had some good moments, but just made too many little mistakes,” Vassar said. “I thought that I played very well when I finished tied for 26th as a freshman. To still be top-8 after feeling like I played some of the worst golf of my life, just shows me how much better I’ve gotten since my freshman year.”
Buerger ended his run atop the leaderboard by eight shots over Crescent Valley’s Michael Gray (146).
After Telles and Zaback, Crescent Valley’s Seth King placed fifth (149), West Albany’s Brock Nelson notched a 150 for sixth place, and Scappoose junior Chase Elliot totaled 151 to earn seventh place.
Crescent Valley (609) won the state title by 35 strokes over Ridgeview (644) and was 42 shots better than West Albany (651). Hood River Valley placed seventh following its 698, as Ren Tappert led the way with his 84-86-170 for 26th place, and Chad Klaas (86-88-174) ended up in a 30th place tie.
Also for HRV, Owen Clemett (88-87-175) claimed a tie for 36th place, Dylan Santee carded a 90-89-179, and Forest Lawson turned in a 103-100-203.
After the first day, when Telles shot a 72, he told Vassar that he was going to start practicing even harder this summer ahead of his senior campaign in 2020.
“For him to get that excited about playing well, is something that will push the team next year,” Vassar said. “Jonathan (Snodgrass) and Spencer (Taylor) are going to improve, and we have a freshman coming in that is going to be a good player as well. It is good to see that they are motivated. They all want to improve, and they all want to do well, so it’ll definitely help them in the long term.”
Entering state play, Telles said that there was a lot of doubt about his scoring because previous scores were in the high 70s and 80s.
This state experience is exactly the push he needs.
“Knowing how much of an impact I can make in this sport is definitely making me work harder for next season, where I can hopefully pull out an individual win,” Telles said.
Stansbury caps year tied for 13th
Getting her first taste of state was an enriching experience for The Dalles golfer Samantha Stansbury.
There were also plenty of valuable lessons to take away from her two-day stretch.
Stansbury cut three strokes from her first-day effort of 101 with a 98 and finished in a three-way tie for 13th place at the 5A state girls golf tournament at Quail Valley Golf Course in Banks.
“State was super-fun, even though I didn’t play very well,” Stansbury said. “I learned that my attitude really affects how I play and if I just have fun and relax, my game will be better.”
Stansbury, who had 15 bogeys and four pars, ended up deadlocked with Logan Dietz (Ridgeview) and Karra Kaiser (Wilsonville) at 199, 42 shots behind individual champion, Tannica Porter (157) of Willamette.
Pendleton senior Megan George (80) had a one-stroke lead on Porter (81) through Monday’s first round, but the Wolverine junior parred the final two holes to finish with a 76 on the second day, while George bogeyed her last three holes and carded a 78 for her 158.
West Albany’s Anna Schweitzer (161) finished third, and Crater’s Haley Brown (165) and Caitlin O’Connor (174) and North Bend’s Victoria Slos (188) made up the top-6.
Redmond’s Elizabeth Roundtree (189) claimed seventh place, Eagle Point’s Kelsi Monroe (190) was eighth, and Corvallis’ Judy Shu and Pendleton’s Rylee Harris wound up deadlocked in ninth place (191).
Hood River Valley’s Victoria Ervin (106-110-216) ended her state run in 27th place, out of 45 golfers.
Pendleton won the state title with a 767, beating Crater (776), West Albany (803), and Ridgeview (823.)
The Dalles head coach Amy Wilson is losing Jaeden Biehn and Eliana Ortega to graduation, but with Bella Evans, Lydia Evans, Rainie Codding and Stansbury returning, the girls team could be in line for great things in 2020.
“I’m working with three of the ladies in the offseason, so far, and am confident they will be consistently shooting in the 80s or lower next year,” Wilson said. “Our district scores would have placed us third at state, so a conference and state championship are well within reach.”
Wilson said that it will take the girls continuously building their relationships with each other, while fine-tuning each of them, mechanically and mentally.
Stansbury plans to play in Oregon Golf Association summer tournaments and will participate in Operation 36, an intensive program run by Wilson at Persimmon Golf Course in Gresham, which is for junior golfers who are or plan to be competitive at a high level.
Wilson envisions domination in the 5A ranks, while Stansbury has goals of breaking 90 and a top-10 state finish.
“The returning girls are looking ahead and are just as excited as I am to hit the ground running,” Wilson said.