At the age of 8, Megan Haase came to a realization after watching her older brother, Justin, play golf.
“It was either watch or play,” she said, “so I started playing.”
Haase took to the game immediately. She made Lewis and Clark’s varsity as a freshman and helped the Tigers win a state title. Now a senior, she’s part of a talented LC team that is chasing its ninth straight Greater Spokane League title and another state championship.
Haase and teammate Sydney Kersten are tied for second in the individual scoring race. They’re scoring average is 74.0 through three of five GSL matches. Mt. Spokane’s Sierra Bezdicek is first at 70.6 and her sister Savana is fourth at 75.3. Lewis and Clark has won the first three league matches by comfortable margins.
“I love the competitive nature of golf, it’s so different than any other sport,” said Haase, who played basketball through her sophomore year. “It takes a lot of time and patience, which I’ve had to learn. It’s just really fun to go out and shoot good scores.”
She’s made that a habit.
“She’s right there at the top, her and (ex-Tiger and current member of the Tennessee golf team) Chessey Thomas, with Sydney right behind them,” LC coach Michelle Grafos said. “She’s one of the top ones we’ve had.”
Haase’s game has evolved through her high school years. She consistently booms 260-yard drives and her short game continues to make strides.
“Her distance has increased as she’s gotten taller and stronger,” Grafos said. “She has a really solid, consistent swing. She’s learned how to use her short game to score. Her up-and-down percentages have improved and her sand shots are consistent.”
Haase credits Grafos, swing coach Steve Prugh, her dad Bill, brother Justin and former LC assistant coach Lindsay Chutas for helping her improve. Justin is a sophomore on Seattle University’s golf team.
“I feel like I’m strong with my driver, that’s definitely the best part of my game. I’m struggling a little bit with my putting,” Haase said. “I’ve improved a lot from 100 yards and in.”
Haase has signed to play golf for the University of Colorado.
“The head coach ( Anne Kelly) is very experienced and played on the tour and assistant coach ( Brent Franklin) played pro golf, too,” Haase said. “I think they can take my game to the next level.”
Three for three
Mead senior Stephen Thoen has been medalist at all three GSL boys matches. Thoen shot 72 at Esmeralda, 65 at Wandermere and 67 at Liberty Lake.
“I’ve coached a long time and seen lots of good players go through Mead’s program and that’s the best I’ve seen at Wandermere, and he backed it up with 67 at Liberty Lake,” said Paul Peters, Mead’s coach for 25 years. “He was 2 under on the front at Liberty Lake and that’s a tough side.”
Thoen, a state qualifier last year, is 10 under over his last 45 holes.
“He certainly has stepped it up,” Peters said. “The thing I’m really enjoying is not only what he’s doing, but how he’s handling himself. He just has an assurance about himself. … He’s got a bounce in his step and enjoying it, and it’s not just because he’s scoring well.”
Thoen’s three-round scoring average of 68 is in front of Ferris’ Tanner Comes (71.3), Mt. Spokane’s Nick Thurston (72.3), Mead’s Evan Dyar (73.3) and Mt. Spokane’s Tye Morrison (73.6).
Mead and Mt. Spokane are tied for first place in the boys race with 27 points, followed closely by Central Valley at 25. CV placed first in the opening GSL match at Esmeralda. Mead finished first at Wandermere and Mt. Spokane took first at Liberty Lake.
“It’s interesting because the cores of (Mead’s and Mt. Spokane’s) teams are Spokane Country Club kids and they know each other really well,” Peters said. “It’s golf, so you can never tell, but it has the makings of a fun ending.”