Price is crowned Cascade Conference champion in golf

Harrison Price putts on the 12th hole at Snohomish Golf Course. Price shot a 71 and won the conference tourney.  - Ben Watanabe / The Record
Harrison Price putts on the 12th hole at Snohomish Golf Course. Price shot a 71 and won the conference tourney.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / The Record

SNOHOMISH — Harrison Price shot one-under par to claim the MVP title at the Cascade Conference championship tournament this week.

“Harrison shooting 71 was one of the best rounds we’ve had here in several years,” said South Whidbey head coach Steve Jones.

The 72-stroke par through 18 holes at Snohomish Golf Course was a task for the rest of the field. Price led second-place finishers by eight strokes, and South Whidbey finished in third place with 415 strokes, six behind the first-place and Cascade Conference champions, the Archbishop Murphy Wildcats.

King’s finished in second place with 411 strokes.

“Archbishop played very well; they were very consistent,” Jones said.

Price led the Falcons and gave them a cushion to outshoot Archbishop Murphy and win the conference title.

Price said his best shots were on the third hole. He hit a power fade and hit a 30-foot putt for birdie.

“It was awesome,” Price said of his performance. “I started out birdieing two of the first three holes, then kind of grinded out the rest of the back.”

Price shot 35 through the front nine holes and 36 through the back nine.

“I got a little more conservative the last two holes.

I mean, I dialed it back a little. I pretty much had it at, like, [hole] 12,” he said. “I knew, pretty much, what they were at and what I was at. I was pretty confident from there on.”

Shane Thompson, Falcon senior and captain, played through a bout of stomach flu. His dad and assistant coach Jim Thompson said he lost five pounds by Monday morning. Shane Thompson was pale, carted his bag around and sat down any opportunity he could to save energy. He drank two 32-ounce bottles of Gatorade during the tournament to stay hydrated and awake.

“I wasn’t really thinking about golf back there,” Thompson said. “I was just thinking about not throwing up; I was thinking about not fainting on the round.”

Thompson split the front nine holes and the back nine at 41 strokes apiece. It was a slight dip from last year’s conference tournament score of 81.

“My mind was just surviving on the golf course,” Thompson said. “For my state of condition, it was a pretty decent round.”

On the 12th hole (309 feet, par 4) Thompson hit a drive almost 180 yards down the fairway. Then he sliced an approach and a chip. His frustration went through his club and into the ground after both hits.

“I took the last two days off because I was sick,” Thompson said. “So I’m pretty sure that contributed to my not-quite sharpness around the green. I haven’t done that all season. It wasn’t pressure. For lack of a better word, it was just not sharpness.”

Jesse Portillo, a junior, started as the Falcons’ number two and finished in a three-way tie for third place overall with 80 strokes. He would rather shoot in the high 70s, and expects to by the district tournament on Monday, May 16.

“That’s something I’m pleased with,” Portillo said of his overall place. “I’m just not pleased with my score.”

Portillo cruised through the front nine holes with 37 strokes. Holes 10 to 18 proved more difficult for reasons Portillo couldn’t identify.

“The back nine, I don’t know what happened,” Portillo said. “The back nine, I just didn’t feel it. There [were] just holes that didn’t quite make sense to me.”

Tyler Nelson was the fourth-best scorer for the Falcons. He finished better on the back nine holes

(41 strokes) than the front nine (44), with a final score of 85.

South Whidbey played without Patrick Parnell who broke his leg the previous week. Jones brought Quintin Viers to the varsity team to fill out the six-man rotation. Viers was the fifth and final scorer for South Whidbey and shot a 95.

Connor Mock, a senior, was South Whidbey’s sixth scorer, and the highest score that was dropped from the team’s points. Mock previously shot in the 80s, his coach said.

“Connor Mock shooting 102, he would probably rather forget that,” Jones said. “He’ll be back next week and I know he’ll advance. He’ll move on from this.”

Any added pressure to beat Archbishop Murphy didn’t affect Price, at least.

“I can’t do anything about how anyone else plays or how Jesse [Portillo] over there plays,” Price said. “I’m going out trying to make putts in the green.”

Jones said, in past district tournaments, golfers who shoot in the low-80s on the first day advance to the second round. Those who can repeat that performance or improve on it, qualify for the state tournament. As a result, he was confident his players are capable of low-80s scores.

“You never know,” Jones said. “It’s ‘Who shows up to play?’ That’s really what it amounts to. The good thing is we played here before, we played here this week, we’re going to play here this Friday on a practice round and hopefully Shane will be healthy.”

The District 1 Boys 2A Golf Tournament begins at 12:30 p.m. Monday, May 16 at Snohomish Golf Course. Eighty golfers from the Cascade Conference and Northwest Conference will compete to advance to the second day’s rounds. After the second day’s rounds are finished, the top 18 golfers and two alternates qualify for the state tournament on May 24-25 at the Classic Golf Course in Spanaway.

Bellingham, a Northwest Conference school, was the 2010 state champion in both boys and girls golf.

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