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Kuechmann qualifies for state golf

Dan Kuechmann will be the lone golfer to represent Hood River Valley High School at next week’s OSAA 5A boys golf state championships. Keuchmann and Coach Mark Gradin will travel to Banks, home to Quail Valley Golf Course, on Sunday for a practice round before the two-day tournament next week to determine the state’s top high school golfers.

Glorious spring weather and ideal golf conditions greeted Columbia River Conference golfers this week for CRC championship and the state qualifier at The Dalles Golf and Country Club, where Keuchmann earned a trip to the state tournament by placing fourth among the field with a two-day score of 163.

As a team the Eagles unable to field complete lineups and thus finished last in both boys and girls tournaments. Pendleton High School claimed top honors in both, with a boys team score of 641 and a girls score of 716, while second place went to Hermiston with totals of 659 and 851 for the boys and girls teams.

For Kuechmann, earning a trip to state came down to a climactic tiebreaker between himself and two other golfers, one from Pendleton and one from Hermiston, for fourth place. With the three deadlocked at a two-day score of 163, they were forced into a shootoff to determine who would earn the final individual slot. Kuechmann shot a par on the course’s No. 1 hole – a par 4 – while the other two bogied. The result is made all the more sweet by the fact that Kuechmann missed qualifying for state last year by just a couple of strokes.

“He’s played really well this season,” said Gradin. “He shot a 78 on the second day, which is really good.”

After opening with an 85 on the first day, Kuechmann followed with one of the best scores posted by any golfer in the tournament day-two. The 78 round was only bettered by individual district champion Brayden Pulver of Pendleton, who shot an 82 the first day and a 72 the second.

Gradin said the course at The Dalles plays to Kuechmann’s disadvantage, but after getting the first round jitters out of the way he had a very solid second day.

“Dan has a very good short game, but he struggles a little with his driver,” he said. “He can get a little wild with it, and that can cost him. He hit his driver very few times; he pretty much stuck to a three-wood instead.”

The course at Quail Valley is flat and open, which will allow for a little looser play, but several substantial water hazards will pose obvious challenges to golfers who struggle with accuracy off the tee.

Leading the three-player HRV girls team was Korey Cimock, who improved her score by more than 30 strokes from day one to day two to finish with a 174. Her second day score of 84 was the third best score of the tournament, behind sisters Hailey and Shelby Greb of Pendleton, who finished first and second with two-day scores of 158 and 161. Finishing behind Cimock was Alicia Hay, who had scores of 107 and 101 and Gabriella Whitehead, who was a little farther back at 123 and 125. After Kuechmann, The HRV boys team saw scores of 202 (103, 99) by Tyler Benson and 236 (127, 109) by Greg Johnston.

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