After dealing with a particularly foul spring season on the links, Columbia River Conference golfers were awarded this week with low winds, sunny skies and T-shirt temperatures for the high school district tournament at Indian Creek Golf Course.
Two days of play, with boys and girls from Hermiston, Pendleton, The Dalles-Wahtonka and Hood River intermixed throughout the course, yielded a second-place finish and a trip to state for the entire Hood River girls squad and a third-place individual finish and a trip to state for the boys team’s top player, Torey Schmidt.
The state tournament starts Monday at Emerald Valley Golf Club, south of Eugene, for the boys and Trysting Tee Golf Course in Corvallis for the girls.
“We’re very pleased with the way the girls played,” said girls coach Dave Waller. “Our top finisher was Tori Grace, who finished with the best tournament round she’s ever had.”
Also coming through in the clutch, Schmidt finished the tournament with a personal best performance, finishing with a two-day total of 166, behind two tough Pendleton players. Highlighting the HRVHS senior’s notable second round were eagles on holes six and eight and birdies on holes 5 and 12.
“Torey set out with the goal this season that he was going to make state,” said boys coach Matt Kyriax. “We had a very limited season due to poor weather and rescheduling issues, so we didn’t get to compete as much as we would have liked.
“But with the way it works, only the district tournament counts toward state. Torey put in his best tournament round ever to qualify for state and I couldn’t be happier for him.”
Kyriax, a fourth-year coach, has been with Schmidt since he was a freshman on the team.
As a team, the boys finished fourth, with 749 total, behind TDW with 712.
On the girls squad, the team’s runner-up finish was highlighted by Grace, who finished third individually with a two-day total of 190.
Hermiston won the team title, extending a seven-shot lead from day one to win with a score of 821, with HRV coming in second at 847, followed by Pendleton in third with 864.
Second for the Eagles was Alisha Hay, who finished seventh with a 204, surviving a tough couple of holes on the back nine.
“The team played a very good first nine Tuesday, pulling to within six shots of Hermiston,” Waller said. “But the Bulldogs pulled away on the back, playing a good nine even as the wind decided to pick up to standard Hood River levels.
“The second-place finish means the team gets to play in the state tournament for the second year in a row. The state course should be a good venue for the girls, with a short and relatively front nine, followed by a back nine that is a bit longer and provides a few more challenges. We hope to see even better scores next week.”
Coaches extended a big thank you to Indian Creek Golf Course for use of the facility for the tournament and support throughout the season.