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With little practice ahead of game, golfers open season coldly


March 20, 2019

Sweet Home’s golf teams opened their season last week cold – in a figurative sense, after having little to no time on the course before their first competitions.

The varsity boys played their first match Wednesday, March 13, at Trysting Tree in Corvallis against Woodburn, Marist, Cottage Grove, Cascade, Newport and Junction City.

“Trysting Tree was new to all the boys, tournament-wise,” Coach Pat Davis said. The match was moved from Tokatee, in McKenzie River, due to snow there.

Brayden Keesee led the Huskies with a 92, followed by Chris May (99), Carson Smith (108), Alex Kisselburgh (109) and Kolton Ertsgaard (110) for a team score of 408.

“Kolton got two 10s on holes where he got into deep sand – and we hadn’t practiced in sand,” Davis said. “He couldn’t get out.”

Sweet Home has since practiced in sand, he noted.

He said he was excited by the lower scores from the new varsity arrivals, Kisselburgh and Ertsgaard, “who shot on the low end – they weren’t in the 120s or 130s.”

Given the circumstances, Davis said he “was not unhappy” with those scores.

What they did learn was that Woodburn, which finished in the 330s – Davis did not have the exact team score – and Marist, which shot in the 360s, he said with a team of mostly JV players, will be among the teams to beat in the district.

“That number alone, on the Emerald Valley course at state, would put Woodburn in the top four or five,” Davis said. “The two former 5A schools are front-runners.”

The boys were to play at the Oregon Golf Association course in Woodburn Monday, March 18.

Sweet Home’s junior varsity golfers played with the girls Friday, March 15, at Fiddler’s Green, a par-3 18-hole course outside Junction City.

Boys from eight schools – Cascade, Cottage Grove, Lebanon, Newport, Oakridge, Stayton, Sweet Home and Woodburn competed in the event, in which Davis, who directed the match, raised the par on three of the most difficult holes to four for the young golfers and utilized a double par pickup provision.

Freshman Carsen Perry shot a 93, freshman Joseph Hiemenz a 96 – and neither had to utilize the double par pickup.

“That’s exciting,” Davis said. Freshman Dakota Melkvik, who has never played golf, David said, finished with 127.

The JV boys will play nine holes Thursday, March 21, at Meadowlawn in Salem.

Girls Golf

At Fiddler’s Green, junior Rebekah Fassler finished with a 91, which Davis said was about 20 strokes better than her finish on the same course last year. Junior Brook Womack was right behind with a 92, about 15 strokes better than last year.

Junior Lexi Schilling, who was headed to a wrestling tournament, played nine holes, shooting 49.

Freshman Bailey Womack finished with a 120, including a par.

“That’s exciting,” Davis said. She’s coming around.”

The girls opened Monday, March 11, at Bandon Crossings in a field of 25 girls, including one other full team, from Bandon.

“They had not putted, nor hit out of the sand,” Davis said of his team. “They literally had one outdoor practice prior to that.”

Fassler finished with a 114, Brook Womack with 115 and Schilling with 127, which Davis said “could have been much lower” if she had not lost a ball on the 18th hole after teeing off with “the best tee drive I’ve ever seen her hit.”

“She absolutely crushed it,” Davis said, adding that the ball went over a dune into an out-of-bounds area as the course curved, so Schilling ended up with a 10. “She could shoot better.”

Bailey Womack played nine holes, recording her first-ever official par in the process.

“In two matches she’s had two pars,” Davis noted.

The Huskies finished two strokes ahead of Bandon .

“It will be interesting to see where that goes,” Davis said, adding that Sweet Home’s scores were comparable with the individual girls playing. “That was a small sample of our district but we were pretty competitive there.”

It was also a long day, he said, as the Huskies left at 7 a.m. and returned at 10:45 p.m.

“It was the first time they actually got to play golf all year,” he said. “They had smiles on their faces.”

The girls will be off this week.

Davis said he is still interested in adding one or two girls to the team, should that opportunity arise.


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