There aren't a lot of links for this morning, but we do have a couple things to share, with the U19 world championships tops on our list. Read on.
• We'll start with the few links available. Klay Thompson (five points, four rebounds, one assist in 20 minutes) and the U.S. U19 basketball team moved into the finals of the world championships with an 81-77 win over Croatia, which rallied in the second half. You can access the box score and story here. (As an aside, someone asked about Casto's prognosis and timeline. All I can tell you is he hasn't been examined by doctors here yet so nothing is definite. But a torn meniscus isn't a torn ACL or MCL. It's less damaging to the knee structure.) But a Thompson/Brock Motum final won't happen. The Aussies were never in the game and fell 84-69 to European champ Greece in the other semifinal. Motum took just eight shots, hit half, and finished with nine points and four rebounds. The U.S. will face Greece for the title early Sunday morning our time while Australia plays Croatia for third. ... Speaking of recruits, Ephrata's Patrick Simon, who has committed to WSU for 2010, is finally back on the court. The 6-foot-7 Simon sat out his junior year with a foot injury, had surgery and has been cleared to play. He's with Eastern Washington Elite this weekend in the 100-plus-team Premier Basketball tournament in Bellevue.
• That's about it for news. But, because I promised yesterday morning I would, here's my review of Palouse Ridge. ... I moved into the Inland Northwest in 1983 and was immediately struck by the availability of bargain golf at great courses. And nothing's changed. It's still a bargain to play Indian Canyon, Meadowwood or any other municipal golf courses in Eastern Washington. But there has also been a growth in privately held, high-end courses open to the public, with Idaho's Circling Raven the one that most prominently comes to mind. For a little bit more, and a lot less than people in say, California, pay for golf, you can play a great course with a lot of challenge.
That's where Palouse Ridge fits. It's a challenging high-end course available for public play at a reasonable price (you can check out all the particulars at the course's website). And I'm not just saying that because I scored a lot better my handicap level (14). Each hole, designed by John F. Harbottle III, has a different set of challenges based on the tee box used. Each has a unique look. But what I really liked about the setup was the risk/reward factor on every hole. There was a place you wanted to hit the ball, with a safety net available on one side and jail lurking on the other. The closer you were willing to flirt with jail, the better the chance to score. But if you are like me and have an aversion to high grass and even higher scores, you can play it safe. In other words, you can miss in the right spots. And boy did I miss a lot. Yet most of the time it was OK, because I missed only once on the bad side. And misses often times turned out fortuitous after a roll off a bank or down a slope.
Once you reached the green, a different set of challenges awaited. The greens, which are pretty hard right now and tough to hold, are fast, true and have as many subtle breaks as any in the Inland Northwest. On one hole my playing partner had about a 70-foot downhill lag. He read it as a right-to-left break and played it accordingly. It obediently took the break and came to a stop about 5 feet below the hole. But I was perplexed. Reading his putt from the other side of the hole I saw it was straight or even left-to-right. When we were done, I tried his putt, going straight at the hole. The ball went straight with just a hair of a break and stopped just past the hole. Two different lines, two similar results. ... After the round was over I found myself with the same thought I had after the first time I played Indian Canyon or Circling Raven or Spyglass Hill, for that matter. I couldn't wait to play the course again.
• That's it for now. We'll have a football story for you this afternoon. Until then ...