HOOD RIVER – Tyler Vassar and Aidan Telles already had a state berth in the bag, but the duo wanted to play well enough to get their entire team qualified for state play.
The Dalles boys golf team fell behind Crook County and Hood River Valley by 32 strokes and 19 shots, respectively, through one day and made up double-digits on the second day.
However, the early deficit proved to be too much to overcome.
Crook County won the regional team title with a combined 714, and Hood River Valley placed second (721), eight strokes ahead of The Dalles (729) for the second team state-qualifying spot at the Intermountain Conference/Northwest Oregon Conference championships ending Tuesday at Indian Creek Golf Course in Hood River.
Joining Crook County and Hood River Valley at state is Ridgeview, which qualified due to taking the regular-season league championship.
“I tried staying composed,” Vassar said. “I really didn’t put too much pressure on myself going in because I knew I was already qualified for state myself. I wasn’t just in it for me though. I was trying to help the team as much as I could through the entire round, trying to birdie, trying to birdie and trying to get as low as I possibly could just to help the rest of the guys out, so they could go to state as well. I feel that I did ok, but I definitely left a lot of strokes out there.”
Vassar had a four-over-par 76, Telles carded an 81, Jonathan Snodgrass posted a 108, Spencer Taylor ended action at 111, and Aaron Treichel shot a 113 for a total of 376 after first-day action.
Crook County (345) led the team standings and Hood River Valley (357) was in the second place.
On the second day, Vassar put together a 77 to finish with a 153 and take medalist honors and the senior was eight strokes better than Telles (81-80-161), the runner-up.
Also for TD, Jonathan Snodgrass cut 11 shots from opening-round total (108-97) to wind up at 205, Spencer Taylor dropped from 111 to 99 for his two-day total of 210, and Aaron Treichel ended his two rounds with a (113-117-230.)
Snodgrass, Taylor and Treichel did not extend their season another week, so all three will come back with more hunger.
“None of us really had our best scores this year, so I think it really pushes us to improve, because we know what we can do. We know that we didn’t do that in this tournament,” Snodgrass said. “We all have set some goals on what we want to improve on so we can be contenders.”
In all three years as a varsity member, Telles has earned a state bid, once as a team member in 2016, and now two consecutive years as an individual.
Last season at Emerald Valley Golf Club in Creswell, Telles, competing as an individual, totaled 159 through two rounds to lock down a ninth-place tie.
“It really means a lot to make it back to state,” Telles said. “Starting in my freshman year, I really didn’t know how the game was played at the high school level and I really fought hard to be here. With the help of my coaches, my teammates and Tyler Vassar, who pushed me to get better and do the best that I can, I was able to accomplish this. I am very happy to be where I am at right now.”
After Vassar and Telles, Scappoose’s Chase Elliot was third (167), Hogan Smith of Crook County claimed fourth (171), Brodie Kuizenga, also from Crook County, shot a 174 to grab fifth place, Trenton Brinkley finished with a 175 for sixth, and the Hood River trio of Ren Tappert (178), Chad Klaas (179) and Dylan Santee (180) made up the top-9.
Earning individual state bids for their tournament scores were Redmond’s Emmett Hagan (193), St. Helens’ teammates Tyler Tolleshaugh (198) and Kalvin Budge (199), and Pendleton’s Zech Cyr (199) and Matt Robertson (200).
Last time Vassar played at Trysting Tree Golf Club in Corvallis on the state stage was his freshman year, when TD qualified as a team.
In 36 holes, he had 19 pars and two birdies for a 161 to wind up 26th out of 53 golfers.
He now makes a return trip with an ally.
Having a teammate on the same course allows them to better strategize each hole, which is much different than a coach, so they can understand how their shots are working.
“It will be great to go to state with Aidan. I think we bring the best out in each other,” Vassar said. “Going into state, I am feeling confident. I am hitting my driver really well and I am putting pretty well now, and my irons and wedges are good. I just need to work on short little shots, here and there, and then I will hopefully have a chance at the state title.”
As for Taylor, at least he capped his season on a positive note with a 12-stroke improvement.
He hovered around 95-105 for most of the spring.
He plans to fine-tune his approach shots, chipping and driving accuracy.
“It is definitely motivating to me, because I came in yesterday and probably shot one of the worst rounds of my life,” Taylor said. “It definitely makes me want to come out and do a lot better, so I am going to practice more this summer and I plan to come back much better next year.”
A start time of 12:30 p.m. is set for Monday and Tuesday in Corvallis.