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State golf roundup: Bellarmine Prep’s Brown wins 4A girls title, Steilacoom’s Kim claims 2A girls crown

Post by Doug Pacey / The News Tribune on May 23, 2012 at 3:51 pm with No Comments »
May 23, 2012 8:31 pm

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CLASS 4A GIRLS
Before Alivia Brown stepped forward to accept the Class 4A girls golf state tournament individual championship, the Bellarmine Prep sophomore found herself in another spot she’d never been – a playoff.

Brown won on the second hole, birdying the par-5, 537-yard, sinking a 10-foot putt to win Wednesday at MeadowWood Golf Course in Liberty Lake.

“When you win the 4A state championship,” Lions coach Mark Bender said, “that’s a pretty good day of golf. She played solid all day.”

Brown also helped Bellarmine Prep win its third straight team title. With six golfers in the finals, the Lions totaled 172 points. Lewis and Clark High placed second with 121.5 points.

In the playoff, Brown edged teammate Jordan Ferreira, a Notre Dame commit, and Central Kitsap High’s Katie Lee. All three finished with 36-hole totals of 144 strokes.

Brown could have won the tournament without a playoff, but she bogeyed the 378-yard No. 18.

“My second shot felt like it was solid,” Brown said, “but it was long.”

It wasn’t until Brown tallied her scorecard that she realized she was headed for a playoff.

“I’d never been in a playoff before, but it was fun,” she said. “Being with Katie was awesome and being with Jordan was awesome.”

Brown shot back-to-back rounds of 72, finishing with a two-day total of 144 strokes.

Ferreira, who carded a 71 in the finals, and Lee, who shot 72, tied for second. Kentwood High’s Catherina Li was fourth at 147 after carding a 71 on Wednesday.

The Lions’ other finishers were Olivia Benzin (tied 12th), Gracie Dyer (tied 14th), Maddie Schulz (tied 17th) and Lindsay Gullickson (tied 36th).

Bender said the Lions knew a third consecutive team title was within the team’s grasp when the finals began.

“I told them to go low and not take anything for granted,” Bender said. “That’s what they did.”

CLASS 4A BOYS
Jackson High’s Kyle Cornett maintained the two-stroke lead he took in the first round, winning the state title with a two-day total of 145 strokes.

After seeing no golfers break par in the first round, Cornett and Eastlake High’s Li Wang each shot 71 Wednesday. Wang placed second with 147 strokes.

Bellarmine Prep’s Chris Tedesco was the highest-placing local, tying for sixth after shooting 73 and finishing with 153 strokes.

Kamiak High placed three golfers among the top 11 finishers and edged Bellarmine Prep for the team title, 92-88.

Defending state champion Dominick Francks of Olympia shot 81 in the finals and tied for 23rd.

CLASS 3A BOYS
Juanita High’s Frank Garber shot a blistering 65 in the final round at Canyon Golf Course in Spokane and won the tournament by nine strokes and a 36-hole total of 135..

Garber shot 70 in the first round and quickly shot past first-day leaders Chris Babcock of Shorewood and David Fonua of O’Dea. Babock and Fonua carded rounds of 75 and 76, respectively, on Wednesday. Babcock placed second with 144 strokes.

Enumclaw High’s Tyler Salsbury was the top local finisher, tying for sixth with 147 strokes after shooting 75 in the final round.

Southridge High edged Mount Spokane High for the team title, 96-94.

CLASS 3A GIRLS
Mount Spokane sophomore Sierra Bezdicek beat sister Savana in a playoff and won the individual state title at Esmeralda Golf Course in Spokane.

The sisters finished the 36-hole tournament tied at 146 strokes. Sierra, who carded a 72 on Wednesday, shot par on the first playoff hole and Savana recorded a bogey

Defending champion Rachel Lewis entered the final round in a three-way tie for first with Sammie Pless of Holy Names Academy and Decatur High’s Amanda Beyke.

Pless placed third after shooting 74, finishing one stroke off the lead. Lewis carded a 76 and was fifth Beyke shot 77 and claimed sixth.

Hanford won the team crown with 121.5 points.

CLASS 2A GIRLS

After two years finishing as a runner-up in the Class 2A state girls golf tournament, Steilacoom High junior Cherokee Kim drained enough clutch putts to claim her first state title.

“She hit the ball fantastically,” Steilacoom golf coach John Ford said. “I think she missed three shots the whole tournament. She had a little trouble putting the first day, but she came back at the end of the second round and made everything she needed to and finished strong.”

Kim finished in second place by just a stroke the last two years, but the flat stick led her to victory on Wednesday at Lake Spanaway Golf Course.

“I really wanted to take first this year,” Kim said. “I just told myself that I had to hit one shot at a time and stay focused, and whatever happens, happens.”

Kim went into the final round of play down four strokes to Interlake’s Aleana Groenhout, but shot a 2-over 74 to finish with a two-day total of 153, one stroke better than Fife sophomore Kendall Gray (154).

Groenhout led at the midpoint of the tournament with a first-round 75, but faded on the final day with an 84, finishing in third place with a two-day score of 159.

North Thurston’s Olivia Lowe followed up a 79 on the first day with an 86 for a two-day total of 165, good enough for fifth place.

Kim claimed victory by shooting 1-under on the final nine holes, including a 25-foot putt for birdie on the par-3 No. 14 hole.

Gray had a chance to send the tournament into a playoff with a birdie on the final hole, but her 20-footer from the fringe just slid past the right edge of the cup on No. 18.

“I had no idea,” Gray said about needing a birdie on the final hole to force a playoff. “I didn’t know where she was at.”

Even though Kim headed into the final day only four strokes off the pace, she did not play with the final group because Bellingham had six golfers make the cut, and teammates can’t play in the same group.

So Kim played ahead of the final group.

“It was kind of nerve-wracking because I didn’t know where she was,” Gray said. “And I didn’t know if she was playing good or bad, or what. I just knew that I was playing good.”

Kim also had the added pressure of Washington State University women’s golf coach Kelli Kamimura following her group. Kim is considering the Cougars, along with Seattle University, and plans to visit the Pullman campus soon.

“It did add some pressure,” Kim said about Kamimura watching her play. “But I was confident with my game and I know what I can do.”

Bellingham claimed its 10th state title in the past 11 years, winning convincingly with 152.5 points, led by Brooke Branigan and Jenn Paul finishing tied for fourth place with a two-day total of 162 strokes.

Fife placed second with 62.5 points, while Burlington-Edison grabbed third with 54 points.

Bellingham golf coach Brad McKay said it’s the first time the school had six golfers make the final cut.

“We’ve built a pretty cool legacy, and those kids want to keep that going for years to come,” McKay said. “And so it’s not just for today, it’s for the future. So it’s always fulfilling to win a state tournament.”

CLASS 2A BOYS
With a blistering 71 and one-under par, Clarkston’s Tyler Carlson dominated the field at the Class 2A boys golf tournament Wednesday at The Classic Golf Club in Spanaway.

Carlson claimed the individual state title with a two-day total of 147 strokes.

“It feels awesome,” said the Oregon State-bound Carlson. “I didn’t play well at regionals and I told myself I was going to win this week. So to accomplish that and to win a state championship as a senior going out, it’s just awesome.”

Carlson, who came into the day in second after shooting 76 in the first round, had experience at the tournament, placing fourth as a freshman, sixth as a sophomore and eighth as a junior.

Having been in contention before, Carlson said he started to get the sense this time might be different about halfway through the final round.

“I knew on the back nine I had a couple shot lead and I just started making a couple birdies and didn’t falter at all,” Carlson said. “The last couple of holes, I knew that nobody was real close, so I was trying to get around.”

In Carlson’s final group was defending champion Ryan Wallen of Blaine, Tumwater’s Seth Nickerson and Port Angeles’ Joe Barnes. Wallen took second with 154 strokes, Nickerson was third at 155 and Barnes finished sixth at 157.

Despite another strong day from Nickerson, he couldn’t hide his disappointment following the tournament.

“I was in it for a while just grinding it out,” Nickerson said. “I just couldn’t make anything today. It was frustrating. I hit every green on the front and shot 38. It’s kind of hard to swallow when you’re hitting the ball so well and not making anything and having a couple of three-putts.”

Besides Nickerson, locally, W.F. West’s Brady Calkins had another strong day, finishing at 78 and 156 for the tournament, good enough for fifth place. Also, Sumner’s Kai Taylor had a great day, shooting 75 and finishing at 157 for the tournament, putting him in a tie for sixth place.

“I’m happy, I played good in the second day and I finally had some putts dropping,” Taylor said. “I’m really just thankful to be here.”

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