Hurt returns with a new team, same focus

Austin Hurt lines his putt up on the first hole at the Husky Invitational at Gold Mountain Golf Course in Bremerton. The sophomore finished as WSU’s top placer with a two-day score of 152.  - JESSE BEALS/Staff Photo
Austin Hurt lines his putt up on the first hole at the Husky Invitational at Gold Mountain Golf Course in Bremerton. The sophomore finished as WSU’s top placer with a two-day score of 152.
— image credit: JESSE BEALS/Staff Photo

BHS graduate making a name for himself in the college ranks.

BREMERTON – The competitive edge is still there for Austin Hurt.

He still shakes his head over every shot if it’s not picture perfect.

Even after he makes a great putt that hangs on the edge of the cup for a second or two before dropping in, he still shakes his head over what he might have done differently.

“I grinded so hard,” he said. “It was so brutal. I was just shaking my head everywhere I went.

“I wanted to be like ‘alright let’s make some birdies,’ but everytime I thought I hit a decent shot the next one would be awful and put me down into a spot where I didn’t want to hit another bad shot,” he continued. “It scared me a little bit.”

But he kept his focus and soldiered on.

“I just decided to say ‘no more excuses,’” Hurt said. “Just swing the club and not think about anything else.”

Hurt, a 2006 graduate of Bainbridge, is now a sophomore at Washington State University.

He was back on the west side of the mountains early in the week as the Cougars took on 12 other teams in the Husky Invitational at Gold Mountain Golf Course in Bremerton.

Hurt shot a 152 over 36 holes on Monday (a 78 on the first 18, then a 74 over the next 18) but the event was canceled on Tuesday after seven holes due to rain.

He finished eight over par to tie for 31st place, making him the top finisher for the team.

Despite the weather, Hurt said he enjoyed being home on a course that he estimates he’s played “50 to a 100 times.”

“It’s nice to be back in this kind of weather,” he said. “Living 30 minutes away, it’s easy to come out and play this just to see how well you’re swinging.

“It’s long and challenging, which is nice. A lot of college courses are like this.”

Originally, Hurt was to take on the challenge of playing tough courses as a student of Arizona State University.

A member of the 2005 3A state championship team and a winner of the district tournament and a second place finish at state in 2006, Hurt’s plan was to walk onto the Sun Devil golf team.

But the coaches never got back to him.

“They didn’t even allow me a chance,” he said. “I tried to call him but he never got back to me.”

So he gave Cougar head coach Walt Williams a call, as he had expressed an interest in him when the two talked at the Washington Junior Golf Association state tournament last July about playing for WSU.

“He was the one that wanted me the most,” Hurt said. “So I decided to take that road.”

His decision paid off, as he was able to transfer in time to take part in the spring season for the Cougars.

In eight tournaments, he registered one top ten finish and three top 25 finishes, along with breaking the record for lowest scoring average as a freshman with a score of 73.8.

He rounded out his year by shooting even par at the Pac-10 Championships in April to finish tied for 18th.

Hurt is excited about the new practice facility the team got this fall and the new golf course set to open next fall.

He still keeps in touch with his old teammates – Paul DeBarros, now the captain at Whitman College, Ricky Ulloa, now at St. Martin’s and Jamie Neill, now at the Universtiy of Idaho – and with his old coach Bob Dwyer and keeps tabs on Bainbridge thanks to his brother Kyle, who plays on the team.

Hurt also got to play at Wing Point again when he and his teammates held practice, then had dinner at his parent’s house.

“It was fun to go there again,” he said. “I’ll always love that place.”

He hopes to return in March for the NCAA West Regionals while also learning not to get too upset with his play.

“I’ve been learning how not to get angry,” he said. “Just trying to keep my head about me, because if I lose my head, I’m just going to doubt myself.”

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