Sports

Boys golf | Bainbridge set for success

Bainbridge
Bainbridge's Bobby Grifin will compete at the 3A state tournament for the second year Tuesday.
— image credit: Brad Camp/For the Review

After going undefeated in league play and winning both the Metro and SeaKing District titles, the Spartans are ready to extend their fall success into the post-season.

“We haven’t played so well in the last two tournaments the last few weeks, but I have confidence that we’re going to come out and play the way we’ve played,” senior Jack Seidl said.

Bainbridge has qualified five players to the state tournament in Richland on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“We had very low rounds this year – phenomenally low scores,” coach Bob Dwyer said. “They hung in there for metros; they weren’t playing that well but we scored just enough to win that one, and districts.”

Seniors Seidl and Kyle Schneider, junior Carl Jonson and sophomores Bobby Griffin and Will Whealdon will represent Bainbridge at state.

Jonson, the district medal-winner, and Griffin competed at state last year.

“All five of these guys have been there before,” Dwyer said. “They know what it’s like to be in the running for something big. They play a lot of golf together – that’s a common focus. They never lose track of that.”

Team focus

While the actual competition is individual, Dwyer encourages a team mentality.

“When they’re on the practice green, when they’re out there playing, I don’t want them on their cell phones texting,” he said. “Communicate. Talk. They do a pretty good job of that.”

All five golfers play year-round, and compete in individual tournaments.

“I want them to know when they’re on the golf course there are five people who are supporting each other mentally even though you’re playing your own game,” Dwyer said.

“In practice, we try to help our teammates out as much as possible, and prepare as much as we can and give them every opportunity we can to get better,” Jonson said. “Once we’re on the golf course it’s yourself, and hope your teammates do their best and give them a pat on the back.”

Through road trips and tournaments, the players have developed camaraderie beyond the green.

“I think that when you look at us from the outside we sort of give each other a lot of [grief] sometimes – there’s a lot of jokes,” Seidl said. “But I think that in the end we all share a common goal, and we’re all looking out for each other, and we all want to see each other improve.”

Seidl and Schneider, the only seniors going to state, have been friends since they were 6 years old.

“Kyle has been one of my best friends since we started playing on the same tee ball team,” Seidl said. “We grew up playing on the same basketball and soccer teams while we were kids. I’ve shared my athletic experience with him my whole life.”

To Seidl, a four-year letter-winner, Bainbridge’s success this season has strengthened the team mentally.

“We never went into a match thinking we were going to lose,” he said. “It was nice to see us sustain our success throughout the whole fall. That’s something I was really proud of.”

Bainbridge, which placed second at state in 2008 and sixth last year, enters the tournament tied with Mount Spokane as the school with the most state qualifiers.

“I don’t feel a lot of pressure right now,” Jonson said. “I think it’s nice having five guys going because even though we’re out there by ourselves we feel like we have each other, even if we’re not at the same hole.”

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