Only four team trophies were presented at the state golf championships last week. One of those trophies is now posing in the Jenkins High School trophy case.
The team of Josh Olson, Clint Long, Matthew Chalmers, and Nic Grimm returned from the Spanaway Golf Course near Tacoma with a big chunk of state hardware. Together, they placed fourth overall in the team competition at the Washington State 1A Golf Championships.
“The boys played very well,” said Coach Brian Harting, and they finished in fourth place as a team. There were 12 teams competing on the second day after the cut was made, and the kids beat eight of them.
Josh Olson finished in 12th place out of the 80 boys competing with his two-day total of 157.
“Josh got off to a rough start on Tuesday by shooting 82,” explained Coach Harting. “He started his round by going double, double, triple bogey and was 7 over par after 3 holes.
“Josh looked a little worried after putting out on number 3. I just reassured him that he would be okay and to ‘stay the course’ and it would work out. He shot par on the next two holes and settled down. He played the back nine one over par with birdies on number 11 and number 13, and ended the first day with more self-assurance.”
Olson’s second day score of 75 was highlighted by back to back birdies on number 7 and number 8 on the front nine. He then had three more on number 11, number 13, and number 18 on the back nine.
“I am really proud of Josh,” said Harting. “It would have been very easy for him to cash it in after those first three holes on Tuesday, but he persevered through the tough start and the cold rainy weather on Wednesday to finish his high school golf career with a flourish.
“He placed his tee shot on number 18 to an ideal spot and then stuck his second shot to about two feet for a birdie on his last hole. He played the last 33 holes at six over par, which is pretty darn good!
Clint Long had a great first day. His 79 placed in the top 15 going in to day two.
“Clint just had a real steady round of golf with lots of pars and nothing worse than bogey,” reported Harting. “He had back to back birdies on number 9 and number 10, giving him a 40 – 39 split on his front and back nines.
“Clint made several key putts to keep his round going in the right direction. He was hitting his shots really well off the tee, but his approach shots weren’t landing very close to the pins.”
The second day, Long again shot 40 on the front nine with a solid short game. Then, he caught a couple of bad breaks on the back nine as the course continued to get pretty soggy in the rain and the greens all had standing water on them.
“Clint lost six shots on his last five holes to shoot 42 on the back nine,” said Harting. “Still, this was a good solid effort by Clint. He finished 20th overall as a sophomore and will use this experience to plan his areas to work on this summer.”
Matthew Chalmers shot 83 on the first day, playing his first six holes two over par.
“I thought this was outstanding,” Harting said, “since this was his first experience at the state tournament with a lot of gallery and people moving around.
“Matthew birdied number 10 to start his back nine and finished with a 43, making several bogeys coming in. He also had some trouble hitting greens due to the poor weather conditions.
“The boys need to learn to use different clubs when the conditions call for it, and I know that Matthew will learn a lot from this tournament.”
The cut was made at 85 after the first day of the tournament, so Chalmers qualified for the second day, shooting 91.
“This was a pretty difficult day and Matthew struggled to find a rhythm,” explained Harting. “Consistency was lacking in his game. He hung in there, however, and was a key piece in the team placing fourth.”
Nic Grimm shot 88 on the opening day and missed the cut by three strokes. Nic shot 43 on the front nine with a birdie on the 476-yard par 5 number five.
“Nic was working his way around the course very nicely for his first time at state,” said Harting. “He started the back nine by shooting par on the first five holes, so he was only 7 over after 14 holes. Then, he ran into a little adversity on number 16, which shattered his round.
“He lost nine strokes on the last four holes to miss playing the second day. This again is all about playing experience in these situations. Nic handled it very well, even though he was extremely disappointed, of course.
“Nic was kind of our sleeper going in to the tournament. He has been playing his best golf of the year the last couple of weeks. He shot his best-ever round of golf in one of our practice rounds on Sunday.
Savanah McMillan represented the Cougar girls at the state tournament. She shot 103 on Tuesday afternoon, which was within a couple strokes of her season average.
“The girls’ side of the tournament only has 40 girls,” said Harting, “and they cut it in half for the second day. The cut was 93, and Savanah would have had to play exceptionally well to make that number. She shot 50 on the front and 53 on the back with an out of bounds on number 13. So, making a putt here or there and she would have been in the 90’s.
“Savanah has only played competitive golf for two years, so making it all the way to the state tournament is a great accomplishment for her.”
The trip was a great experience for all five Cougar golfers.
“Through the exceptional generosity of the Chewelah Lady Golfers and the Chewelah Men’s Club, we were able to leave early and give the kids a couple of rounds of golf on two premier courses in the state,” said Harting. “On Saturday, they played Chambers Bay, which is going to host the 2015 US Open.
“On Sunday, they played at the Gold Mountain Olympic Course, which has hosted several big tournaments, including the 2008 NCAA Men’s Western Regional and will host the 2015 US Junior Amateur Championships.
“Both courses treated the kids and parents marvelously and made the experience that much more meaningful. That is one of the great things about golf. Players can get these opportunities, which a lot of other sports don’t provide.”
For Coach Harting, it was hard to see the season come to a close.
“This is one of those seasons that is difficult to wrap up,” he concluded. “What a great group of kids these are, and parents as well. Getting so many to qualify for the regional and state tournaments is a tribute to their hard work ethic. They have truly been an extraordinary season.”
By Geno Ludwig, The Independent Staff
In This Photo: The JHS Golf team played at the State 1A Golf Championships at Lake Spanaway Golf Course. The boys team brought home a fourth place trophy for their strong effort. Pictured (l-r) are Clint Long, Josh Olson, Nic Grimm, Savanah McMillan, Coach Brian Harting, and Matthew Chalmers.