Consistent Skyline can’t overcome Eastlake’s home-course advantage

April 26, 2011

By Christopher Huber

If the Skyline High School girls golf team learned anything from playing at Sahalee Country Club, it’s that you have to keep your drives straight and practice a little longer on the putting green before the match.

Skyline High School’s Bryalynn Vowels tees off on the third hole of Sahalee’s East 9 course April 21. By Christopher Huber

“It’s like you’re hitting the golf ball down a highway,” said Skyline coach Erik Hansen. “If you don’t keep it straight, you find yourself in trouble.”

Not all of the girls learned that the hard way, but the course notorious for frustrating unaccustomed golfers took just enough away from the visiting team to preserve another victory for Eastlake.

“This was a very difficult course,” said Skyline sophomore Bryalynn Vowels. “They definitely have home course advantage.”

The Eastlake Wolves girls golf team took charge once again at its home course to beat the Skyline Spartans, 272 strokes to 289. Eastlake improved to 8-1 and Skyline went to 3-3 with three matches left before the KingCo tournament.

“They’re a very good team,” Vowels said. “We knew that we were going up against something.”

Eastlake’s Megan Wotherspoon again took first, shooting a 43 on the par-36 East 9 course. Vowels, Skyline’s No. 1 golfer, finished fourth overall with a final tally of 56 strokes.

“Megan has been very consistent,” said Eastlake head coach Pat Bangasser. “I expect her to get down to a 38 this year, because she can.”

Following Wotherspoon’s 43, teammate Jamie Midkiff came in second with a 52 and Skyline’s Shirley Chung finished with a 54. Eastlake’s Taylor Finlon and Skyline’s Kacy Cunningham each shot a 58 to tie for fifth place.

“Every time you go out to play golf it’s a different story,” Bangasser said.

Vowels provided an example of how Sahalee can take the wind out of a golfer’s sails quickly. She completed a solid bogey on the par-4 first hole and was working well through two. But a bad lie under a tree from her drive on the third led to an eight-stroke hole, she said.

“I didn’t do my best, but it was a pretty difficult course,” Vowels said.

Skyline may not have won, but Hansen seemed overall happy with what he saw in the girls’ performance at Sahalee, a course the former Eastlake assistant knows quite a bit about. Most of the young Spartan team had not played Sahalee, but a good portion of them continued to lower their season-average score, he said.

“I think Sahalee can be a little intimidating,” Hansen said. “I was pretty pleased with it.”

While on a six-match winning streak, Eastlake looks to cruise through Garfield and Woodinville before facing powerhouse Redmond on May 5.

“We’re hoping our scores drop 10 to 20 percent in the next couple of weeks,” Bangasser said.

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