Freshman Zachary Overstreet leads Eagles with third at state

July 31, 2012

By Lillian O'Rorke

Zach Overstreet (right), 15, of Issaquah High School, watches his golf ball on the first hole July 25 during the first round of the WJGA District 2 championship at Meridian Valley Country Club in Kent. Taylor Swingle (left), 15, of Issaquah High School, follows through on his tee shot on the first hole. By Greg Farrar

Going into the final round July 27 of the Washington Junior Golf Association, Zachary Overstreet was leading the 14-15 boys division by two strokes.

This was the Issaquah High School freshman’s fourth appearance at state but the first time he made it out of the second-day elimination round.

“Going into the third day was an accomplishment itself,” he said. “But being the leader the third day was shocking and exciting at the same time. It felt really good.”

Out of the gate July 25 at Meridian Valley Country Club in Kent, Overstreet was pulling ahead with a birdie on the third hole. Having finished the first nine with three bogies he was able to make up for it by birdying holes No. 15-17 and finish the round in first place at 72 strokes.

When he finished the second round July 26 at Renton’s Fairwood Golf and Country Club he still had a tight grasp on the lead after shooting 75. Even though Overstreet still has not tried out for his new school’s team, he was walking both courses with an Issaquah Eagles golf bag.

When it came time to order new bags last spring, Issaquah Coach Tom Bakamus ordered him one, Overstreet explained, adding that he is pretty confident he’ll make the team this fall. And confidence is what Overstreet was looking to hold onto when he entered the championship round.

“I tried to lift myself up and stay strong going into the last day,” he said, explaining that he knew if he went into the round with doubts they would become a reality by the end of the day. “I wanted to keep my hopes up. I had to give myself confidence that I could do it.”

However, his good mood began to fade on the course as his short game began to elude him. Getting to the green was no problem but things began to slip with each missed putt. By the end of the final round July 27, back at Meridian Valley, he finished with 83 strokes, just enough for three of his competitors to catch up.

With a total of 230, Overstreet tied for third place with Aubrey Mackenzie, from Poulsbo. The two finished just six strokes behind Spokane’s Tanner Comes, who slipped into the championship spot after shooting 70 the final day. While he didn’t walk away with the title, Overstreet did still have a smile on his face.

“I was really pleased. I really enjoyed state, but being the leader going into the third day was a learning experience,” he said. “I learned to not look down on any of the players because they are just as good as anyone out there. You have to look at any player as a threat … and not just focus on what they are doing but focus on what you are doing.”

Also in the 14-15 boys division was Kelley Sullivan, of Skyline High School, who shot a 239 for 14th place. Nate Fischer, a 14-year-old freshman at Skyline, shot 178 in the first two days and Barret Dowling, of the Issaquah Eagles, scored a 92 on both the first and second round — both did not qualify for the final day of play.

“I didn’t do so good,” said Dowling, who will be a sophomore at Issaquah High this fall. “I had a blister on my left hand. I had to change my grip so I could avoid it. So I was all over the place, but it was still fun.”

In the 16-17 boys division, Spencer Weiss, of Eastlake High School, finished fourth with a final score of 222, five strokes behind state champion Ross Kukula. Weiss shot a 74 in the first round, 73 in the second and 75 on the final day.

Brian Mogg, of Skyline, took 14th  after shooting a total of 231. With a score of 75 in both the first and second round, the final day proved to be a thorn in his side as he shot an 81.

Jackson Safon, of Sammamish, with a total of 168 after the second round, did not qualify for the final round. Jamie Midkiff, of Eastlake, failed to qualify for the round in her division of 16-17 girls. Her two-day total was 176.

Issaquah’s Mersadie Tallman shot 181 in the first two rounds of the 14-15 girls and did not qualify for the final round either.

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