Hood River Valley High School’s Boys Golf team took to the links last Thursday at Indian Creek Golf Course, where they hosted the Heppner Mustangs. The Eagles played well, despite their limited course exposure this season due to weather; their team score of 371 bested the Mustangs’ 411.
“It was an amazing outcome for my HRV boys, as this match was only our fifth day on the golf course,” said coach Erin Mason. “The season officially started Feb. 25 and we spent the first couple weeks inside. With this in mind, I knew there were a lot of unknowns as I hadn’t had time to evaluate rosters and player rankings.”
Fortunately for Mason, his team is led by four returning varsity players — sophomores Owen Clemett, Brian Fuller, Dylan Santee and Ren Tappert. Mason also recruited senior Chad Klaas, an accomplished swimmer and track athlete, who played golf his freshman year. With the core five, the Eagles were able to put up respectable scores through 18 holes: Tappert was best with 88, followed by Klaas with 91, Santee with 95, Clemett with 98 and Fuller with 135. The first four scores were tallied in accordance with golf rules, giving the aforementioned total. Tappert’s 88 was the best between both teams.
“I had my eye on Ren this season, watching him practice; I was aware of his potential, as he plays during the summer as well,” said Mason, “He told me his goal was to break 80 this season, and he was just seven shots shy of that mark on his first full 18 of the season.”
With a 91 from Klaas, the Eagles top two look to push one another throughout the season, driving their scores down through competition. While the top four HRV golfers were close, Fuller dropped back a bit in his season debut, but Mason isn’t worried.
“I think we can attribute that to nerves,” said Mason, “That is not a good representation of Brian’s game, as I have watched him hit the ball this season. Just rusty golf for all my guys.”
Two additional players competed for Hood River — freshman Forrest Lawson and junior Zack Marble — and scored well with 120 and 124, respectively. The fight to earn those top five spots is underway amongst the Eagles.
“I couldn’t be happier, as there is now some serious potential to give my fifth player something to think about. It was a good match for our team and something we can build upon going into our next match,” Mason said.
Hood River will play on April 1 at Juniper Golf Course in Bend.