Making the cut to play the second day of the State 1A Golf Tournament is an accomplishment.
On the first day, 80 boys play 18 holes. However, to qualify for the second day’s round, they have to finish in the top 40 on the leaderboard.
This year on the Liberty Lake course, the cut turned out to be 89. Of the 13 boys from the Northeast A League, only five advanced to play the second day. Chewelah’s Griffin Stroyan and JR Steele were among them.
Stroyan shot a two-day total of 170 and finished 28th overall in the tournament.
Steele’s score of 173 for two-rounds gave him a 35th place finish. Stroyan shot 86 the first day. His two nines were 47 and 39. He birdied hole number 3, a 200-yard par 3, with a nice 10-foot side hill putt. His back nine was much better. The 39 also included a birdie on number 16.
The second day proved a little better for the Chewelah sophomore with scores of 43 and 41, just the opposite of JR.
“Griffin got off the tee really well,” said Coach Brian Harting. “His iron play was also pretty much spot on. His putter was the culprit both days. He had a hard time adjusting to the speed of their greens. His distance control was really off, which is unlike him. Most of the time that is one of his strengths. He had eight pars and six bogeys on day two.”
Steele shot 85 the first day, which was his lowest round of the entire year. His two nine-hole scores were 41 and 44. He had four pars and birdied hole number 9, a 436-yard par 4, on the front nine.
Steele also had four pars and two birdies on the back. He made a 10-foot downhill putt to birdie number 16, which is a 130-yard par 3 and hit a great second shot from 130 yards into number 18 to about four feet for his second birdie on the back nine.
Steele then shot 88 on the second day. He matched his score of 41 on the front nine from the day before, and then shot 47 on the back.
“JR was having trouble finding the fairway on day two,” said Harting, “but he hit some tremendous iron shots to keep his score from getting away from him. His putting, 34 on day two, was also very good.
“JR played two of his best rounds of golf at state. He really only had three bad holes over those two days. The three holes, though, kept him from really moving up the leaderboard.”
Steele is Chewelah’s lone senior.
“Griffin and JR would have made an outstanding scramble team over the two days,” Harting explained. “Griffin played well off the tee, they both hit their irons well, and JR and a great two days of putting.”
As a team, the two finished in 11th place in the team scoring.
“This is the 22nd year in a row Chewelah has been represented at the state high school boy’s golf tournament,” said Harting. “We are really appreciative and thankful for the support of the golf course, the staff, and its membership. The Men’s Club and Women’s Clubs have been outstanding to us.”
For the girls division of the state tournament, 40 girls played the first day and then they cut the field in half to 20. The cut for the girls at the end of Tuesday’s round was 95. Jennah Earl represented the girls’ team for the Cougars. She shot 52 and 53 for an 18-hole score of 105 on the opening day.
“Jennah also struggled with the putter, said Harting. “Her driver was fairly consistent and she hit her mid-irons well.
“When the cut leaves only 20 girls for the second day, they have to really be on top of their game and just about hit their career round on the first day to make the cut.
“Jennah’s score was a few shots above her season average, but a made shot here or there and she would have been right on her average.”
Earl is a junior and will have a shot to return next year.
By Geno Ludwig/The Independent Staff