There is any number of ways to win a golf tournament.
For example, take the District 8 golf champions: Mead’s Camryn Culp, Rogers’ Emma Torres, Central Valley’s Zach Stocker and Mt. Spokane’s Gunnar Knutson.
Culp did it with her ‘A’ game. The junior followed up a personal-best 74 Monday at Qualchan with a tidy 75 Wednesday at Wandermere for a six-stroke win in 4A girls.
Stocker’s ‘A’ game came Monday with a 6-under 66 at Qualchan. The CV senior didn’t have his best stuff at Wandermere, but he kept his composure and dug out a two-shot win over Mead’s Nick Muxlow, who fired the day’s low round with a 2-under 68.
Knutson, the GSL player of the year, has been rock solid all season. The Wildcats junior carded a 70 to go with his first-round 71 and repeated as 3A boys champ with a 13-shot victory.
Torres saw most of her eight-shot lead over Mt. Spokane’s Katie Maher entering the day evaporate, but the Pirates senior hung for a two-stroke victory in 3A girls.
Culp played sparingly growing up. She joined Mead’s team two years ago as a freshman and remembers shooting 116 in a GSL event at Wandermere. She was 41 strokes better Wednesday.
“It feels great, like all my hard work is paying off,” Culp said. “Pretty much every day I try to get on the course and improve.”
Coach Keith Ross can vouch for that.
“She watches more golf on TV than anyone I know,” he said. “She chips and putts all the time. She’s 100 percent addicted to golf.”
Culp created some separation from Central Valley freshman Kami Twining, the GSL player of the year, with birdies on 10, 11 and 12. Culp’s 8-iron approach on No. 12 stopped 1 foot from the cup.
Culp, Twining, Lewis and Clark’s Darby Rickel, Central Valley’s Courtney Jackson and Mead’s Libby Bloom earned state tournament berths. Gonzaga Prep’s McKenzie Kalua and Jordan Jaeger, LC’s Shannon Curran and Haydyn Inahara, Ferris’ Kaiton Meyer and Mead’s Marisa Olsen will compete against six Mid-Columbia Conference players next week at regionals for six state spots.
Stocker found trouble with some errant tee shots, but he recovered several times. He got up-and-down to save par on 14 and 16.
“I didn’t hit the ball very well and got into some bad spots, but I was able to fight through it,” Stocker said. “The pins were very difficult. When you think of Wandermere, you don’t think of a very difficult course, but it held its own today.”
Muxlow, playing on his home course, made four birdies.
“I could almost play here with my eyes closed and be fine,” Muxlow said. “I just know where to miss it.”
Stocker, Muxlow and G-Prep’s Hayden Gamache, Jack Plaster and Nathan Plaster secured State 4A berths. The Bullpups’ Will Reeves, Jack Reeves and Tommy Kimmel, Mead’s Zane Mularski, LC’s Logan Damon and CV’s Brayden Miles qualified for regionals on May 17 against six MCC players at Liberty Lake. Six state berths are up for grabs.
Knutson’s dedication to the weight room has paid off with added length off the tee and good health throughout the season. He was prompted to train after injuring his back during the U.S. Junior Amateur last summer.
“Those guys back there don’t get injured because they train their bodies not to get injured,” Knutson said. “I’m almost glad it happened, just because I don’t know if I would have ever learned I needed to get in shape.”
Knutson routinely belts drives 300-plus yards after being around 285 last season.
“My distance has gone up,” he said, “but I think that’s a little bit mechanics, too.”
Knutson, teammate Landon Spencer and Shadle Park’s Sam Pauly and Luke Bauernfeind claimed state tournament spots. North Central’s Grant McDonald and five Wildcats – Cole Oster, Hunter Snyder, Ben Drahman and Luca Paolino – advanced to regionals to compete against six MCC counterparts for four state berths.
Rogers’ Torres said her play “was ugly” at times, but she knew she still had a small cushion over Maher, who closed with an 85.
“It’s so great,” Torres said, “considering where I started.
“When I started my freshman year I probably averaged 120,” added Torres, who shot 91 to go with her opening-round 83. “I remember my first GSL tournament I shot 140.”
Shadle Park’s Olivia Clarke will join Torres and Maher at state, which will be held at Indian Canyon.
North Central’s Nikki Mack, Quincy McDeid and Chloe Edin, and Mt. Spokane’s Alexa Miller, Chloe Lavelle and Tessa VanWert will battle six MCC players at regionals for four state berths.
District 7 2A girls
Alyssa Amann earned medalist honors with a two-stroke victory over runner-up Kat Ljubisic of Cheney, helping West Valley easily outpointing second-place Pullman 205-110.
Amann and Ljubisic both qualified for the State 2A tournament at Horn Rapids Golf Course in Richland on May 21-23. Also heading to state are: Julia Lupkes and Karly Bean of Pullman; Kellie Fitzpatrick and Alyson Leonov of West Valley; Carity Yount of East Valley and Clarkston’s Drea Domebo.
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