It isn’t a normal prep golf season with the absence of regionals and state tournaments on the spring calendar, but it beats not having a season at all.
That’s what happened last year. Greater Spokane League teams were just getting started when the COVID-19 pandemic put an end to the season. Teams and coaches are grateful to be back on the course again, but COVID remains a factor with a small number of players in quarantine unable to play at certain events.
“It’s fun to be out there, walking around and watching them play,” said coach Keith Ross, whose Mead girls would probably be a contender for a State 3A title. “They’ve been wanting this for so long. Granted, kids are playing in the summer on their own, but it’s different when there’s 20 kids out here and maybe 40 on the driving range, just that chance of being on a team.”
Gonzaga Prep boys coach Dennis Dougherty believed his 2020 team was the best in school history. That’s saying something since the program was coming off finishes of second, first and second at State 4A tournaments from 2017-19, respectively.
“Knowing that going in there won’t be a state tournament (this spring) and really facing the potential of not having a season at all, it’s pretty much a consensus of gratitude for what we are able to do,” Dougherty said.
“Some of the things a GSL player and team looks forward to, obviously a state tournament and road trips to invitationals, you don’t hear much talk about that. We’re just glad to be playing.”
Mead has 30 points after winning the first three of five GSL matches for 3A and 4A girls teams. Central Valley and Lewis and Clark share second with 24 points.
Mead’s Taylor Mularski (76 at Qualchan, 73 at MeadowWood and 76 at the Fairways) and CV’s Kami Twining (82-72-77) have set the pace individually. CV’s Brooklyn Shumway has posted scores of 79 and 77.
Mularski hit 17 greens in regulation at MeadowWood and the Fairways.
“This is a season we’ve had earmarked for a couple years with the Bloom twins (Charlotte and Libby), Taylor and Brooke (Bloom) is a freshman,” Ross said. “I thought we could make a run for it like we did two years ago when we finished second (at state).
“We’re just trying to have fun. At some point we might end up having 10 or 11 girls play in GSL matches. I think we’ve already had nine.”
On the boys side, Mead and G-Prep are tied for first with 28 points with CV (25) in third.
Mead is young (only one senior on the roster) but deep, boasting six players who have shot at least one round of 77 or better. Mead is led by Ty Anderson, who has carded a 74 and 73, Caden Martinsen (76-75) and the Mulder brothers, Benjamin (83-68-73) and Bradley (79-73-76).
“It should be bright for the Panthers for a few years,” Mead coach Paul Peters said. “The kids are rolling with the punches and they’re pretty flexible. The kids are still enjoying it and whatever competition we have, they get after it.”
G-Prep, which has won two of the first three GSL matches, is led by senior Tommy Kimmel, who has signed with UNLV, Matthew Durkin and Alexander Cooke.
Kimmel has rounds of 71, 71 and 69. Durkin shot 65 at the Fairways and 71 at MeadowWood. Cooke has been steady with scores of 74, 72 and 75.
“Tommy is amazing. He gets better all the time, which seems impossible,” Dougherty said. “Matthew’s 65 had no bogeys and he was in the zone. Alex has the golf swing, like all these guys we’ve had the last five years.”
CV is paced by Brayden Miles (76-70-78), Tyler Jackson (76-73-78), Garrett Packebush (85-76-78), Cooper Arnold (74-79) and Griffin Thorpe (85-74-80).
Mt. Spokane’s Cole Oster (70-76) is in the mix for individual honors.
In GSL 2A, Lauren Greeny had led Pullman’s girls to three straight team wins with scores of 73 at Palouse Ridge, 77 at Esmeralda and 75 at Latah Creek.
Shadle Park has won two of the three boys events. Pilar Dawson had the low score at Latah Creek with an 85. Austin Trout (75) and Conor Weber (78) led the way at Palouse Ridge.
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