Both golf teams leave state with trophies in hand

Kyle Hurt, who narrowly missed a hole-in-one, finished tied for eighth at the 3A state boys golf tournament with a two-day total of 147. - Photo courtesy of the Bellingham Herald/Philip A. Dwyer
Kyle Hurt, who narrowly missed a hole-in-one, finished tied for eighth at the 3A state boys golf tournament with a two-day total of 147.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of the Bellingham Herald/Philip A. Dwyer

The boys’ team takes second while girls finish fourth again.

They may have been two of the smaller teams at state, but both Bainbridge golf teams succeeded in making some big noise in their respective tournaments this week.

The boys’ golf trio of Carl Jonson, Kyle Hurt and Sean Leonard finished in second place at the 3A state golf tournament at the Bellingham Golf and Country Club Tuesday and Wednesday.

Jonson, a freshman, finished in a tie for second with Jens Bracht of Shorecrest with a two-day total of 143.

Hurt, a junior, finished in a tie for eighth with Jarred Bossio of Capital and Cory Mehl of O’Dea with a two-day total of 147.

Leonard, a senior, finished in a tie for 38th with Sean Narby of Kennedy and Dustin Hegge of Auburn Riverside with a two-day total of 160.

As a team, the Spartans finished with 76.5 points, well behind O’Dea, who scored 89.7 points to win the tournament.

Matt Rawitzer of Squalicum was the individual winner with a two-day score of 139.

Head coach Bob Dwyer said that Jonson could do no wrong out on the course.

He sank a hole-in-one on the 140-yard 13th hole for his first ace and shot very well on the back nine to stay in contention both days.

“He’s pretty seasoned at big time tournaments,” Dwyer said, noting that Jonson has played and done well in numerous amateur tournaments. “He’s got a pretty good history of being in contention on the final day.

“Carl can keep up with anybody,” Dwyer continued. “He’s creative all around the golf course. Whatever he needs to do, he’ll do it.”

Dwyer estimates it’s the first time in his time at Bainbridge that a Spartan golfer has finished a state tournament under par since Austin Hurt did it.

Hurt, whose older brother Austin helped the team win a state title several years ago and was routinely in the top tier at state, had a tougher go of it.

“The hole did not like him,” Dwyer said. “He had 10 to 15 putts that went in and out.”

Most notable was a shot on the second day at the 16th hole that was inches away from going down for an ace.

But Dwyer said he is impressed with Hurt’s mental approach to the game of golf.

“He manages his game,” he said. “He plays very steady. When everything goes bad, he digs down and gets something.”

Leonard, who had won the Higgins Memorial tournament a few weeks ago, struggled to get anything going.

Dwyer said he had some problems with his swing, but also said neither he nor his teammates would let him beat himself up over it.

“He felt like he let us down, but he didn’t,” he said. “It just wasn’t working for him. That’s the way golf is sometimes.

“The toughest thing is to not go back over a round and think of all the things you missed,” Dwyer continued. “He worked to get what he did. I can’t ask for anything more.”

Dwyer said he’s happy with how things worked out for the three golfers in earning a trophy.

“Second place is nothing to shout at, especially with this field,” he said. “There were several schools who had four or five golfers with strong scores.”

For the girls, they had to work hard to repeat at fourth place at the 3A state golf tournament at the Shuksan Golf Course in Bellingham.

Sophomore Anna Bourland was the top finisher for the Spartans when she tied for ninth with Lindsay Chinn of Mercer Island with a two-day total of 168.

Senior co-captain Melanie Trygg finished in a tie for 24th with Mari Peterson of Kelso and McKenzie Ballod of Interlake with a two-day total of 181.

Junior Ryan Nottingham finished in 27th with a two-day total of 182.

The Spartan trio scored 61.5 points to take fourth.

Holy Names’ Kristin Tan shot a two-day total of 148 to win the individual title while Enumclaw won the team title.

Head coach Steve Nielsen said nearly everyone had a tough go of it on the course as different changes in elevation on the course and rainy conditions combined with a poor drainage system ensured everyone would have to work to score well.

“The 18th hole was a total swamp,” he said. “The kids’ balls were just plugged into the ground (upon impact).”

Nielsen also said the girls had a bad go of it on the putting side as well, but did what they could to stay competitive.

“After the first day I gave them a copy of the scorecards and on the way back (to the hotel) I could hear them going over each hole and what they could have done differently, where they could hit the ball differently. They came in with a smarter game plan going into (the second day).”

Though the team did its best, Nielsen said the two players from Holy Names – Tan and Cassie Pless, who finished above Bourland in eighth place – each shot well over the two days.

“But we were fighting the whole way,” he said. “The girls hung in there and fought. They might not do well on the front but they battled on the back side.

“They get the team concept,” Nielsen continued. “It’s more about the team than the individual and it’s been that way even with Katie (Saucier), who was more interested in how the team did than how she did.

“They were fighting the whole way. We definitely earned that trophy; it was not easy.”

With the end of the tournament comes change for both teams.

For the boys, they lose Leonard and several others, but many will return to send as many as they can back to state.

“The best part is that the guys returning played in a majority of the matches (last season),” he said. “They’ll do well in summer tournaments.”

Nielsen loses just Trygg, but it’s a major change, as she was a freshman when he took over the reins of the head coaching position of the team four years ago.

“We’ll miss Mel,” he said. “She was a great captain. We’ve worked together for four years on progressing this team. It’ll be very weird to go out there next year without her.

“But she was a good captain and a great leader,” Nielsen continued. “She’s passing on a lot of good traditions and she showed how to act on and off the course.

“She’s got a lot of interests and she’s going to do a lot of things in her life. We’re lucky that golf was one of them.”

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