Local teens fare well in junior golf district tourney

July 26, 2011

By Christopher Huber

Sammamish’s R.P. McCoy watches his drive from the first tee box. By Christopher Huber

The Washington Junior Golf Association District 2 Championship tournament didn’t go quite as well as Li Wang would have hoped.

Over the two weeks prior, the incoming Eastlake High School junior had placed sixth and tied for fifth in two national American Junior Golf Association tournaments in Texas and Oregon and was ready to take this one by storm on the not-so-difficult Mount Si Golf Course.

After shooting a disappointing plus-4 76 on July 19, Wang managed to shoot on par (72) in the second round. But it wasn’t quite enough to take the title in his age group — the 16- and 17-year-olds.

He took second place with an overall 148-stroke performance. Mercer Island’s Charlie Kern won with a low score of 144.

“Yesterday (July 19) I had to get really low to have a chance to win,” Wang said. “I posted a pretty good round. Just wasn’t enough I guess.”

Wang was among 12 Sammamish youth golfers who advanced to the WJGA state tournament after posting low enough numbers at the 2011 District 2 Championship July 18-19 at Mount Si Golf Course. The dozen youth will compete at Walla Walla Country Club, Wine Valley Golf Course and Veteran’s Memorial Golf Course July 27-29.

In all, 16 Sammamish residents participated in the district tournament.

Along with Wang in the boys age 16-17 group, Jack Strickland qualified for state as the first alternate. He shot a consistent 77-77 over two days at Mount Si.

Wang said the course gave him a lot of birdie opportunities, but that they were tough to execute on the green.

“The first day I wasn’t really on,” he said. “There were a lot of birdie opportunities, but you just got to let them come, you can’t force anything. You just had to stay patient out there.”

In the boys 14-15 age group, Spencer Weiss and Brian Mogg, both of Sammamish, each lowered their second day scores and qualified for state. They finished third and fourth, respectively. Weiss posted a 75-74-149 and Mogg finished with a 77-75-152.

“I didn’t make any mistakes or get in trouble,” Weiss said. “I hit a lot of greens and 2-putted.”

R.P. McCoy, 14, also qualified for the state tournament after he tallied a 157-stroke performance (77-80).

In addition, Nate Fischer shot a 171 to qualify as state alternate in the 12-13 age group.

In the boys age 8-11 competition, John Hayes, of Sammamish, finished with a 79-stroke, score over two nine-hole rounds to qualify for state. Tommy McCoy and Victor Wang also qualified with scores of 83 and 85, respectively.

Sammamish’s Kelley Sullivan missed the 14-15 age group cut by two strokes with a score of 83-81-164.

Sammamish resident Maddie Nelson stood out among the girls competition July 18 and 19. Despite posting an 84 in the first round, she improved by five strokes the next day to win the 12-13 age group by one stroke. She shot an 84-79-163 to make it to the state tournament.

And Ashley Fitzgibbons, who won the 2010 state tournament in the age 8-11 bracket, just barely made the cut for this year’s age 12-13 group. She scored an 81-90-171 and was back on the course July 20 to work on her game, she said.

“Tuesday I blew up. On the first hole I doubled it and I got my mind out of things and it never came back,” Fitzgibbons said. She is excited for state, but said she needs to focus on “keeping everything in play and don’t lose it on the first (hole).”

Issaquah golfers advance

Bryan Jung, who played on Issaquah High School’s golf team last fall, qualified for the WJGA state tournament in the boys 16-17 division. Jung had a two-day 153 total and placed ninth.

Taylor Swingle, another Issaquah High player, was an alternate in the boys 14-15 division. He had a 162 total and placed 13th.

Mersadie Tallman, who will be a freshman in the fall at Issaquah, qualified for state in the girls 14-15 division. She was fifth at district with a 174.

Christopher Huber: 392-6434, ext. 242, chuber@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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