Wind hampers Falcon girls golfers against Cougars

Falcon junior Jenna Kaik chips onto the green on the eighth hole at Useless Bay Golf & Country Club on Thursday.  - Ben Watanabe / The Record
Falcon junior Jenna Kaik chips onto the green on the eighth hole at Useless Bay Golf & Country Club on Thursday.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / The Record

USELESS BAY — Strong winds and soggy fairways fouled the South Whidbey girls golf team’s first match against Lakewood on Thursday.

Lakewood won the Stableford-scored match 54-45. Coupeville had one golfer, freshman Christine Fields, who had the best individual score of 19 points.

“Given the conditions, I thought they played really well. There was lots of water, lots of wind,” said Falcon head coach Tom Sage.

“They were a little disappointed. I’m sure they wanted to do better. One of them was a beginner last year. They’re improving.”

Wind gusts up to 35 mph blew around the South End, knocking some small tree limbs down onto the course. Sage warned the golfers at the start about the falling branch danger at Useless Bay Golf & Country Club. No one was injured or reported a near-miss with falling tree limbs.

The clouds cleared, keeping the golfers mostly dry save for their feet as they slogged through puddles around the front nine holes.

“We’ve played through it all. We’ve been snowed on, hailed on, rained on, winded on,” Sage said. “Almost any weather condition you can imagine, we’ve played through.”

Undeterred, South Whidbey’s top golfer junior Jenna Kaik led the Falcons with 17 points. The modified scoring system is based on points for how well a golfer does in relation to the par for each hole (par is worth four points, bogey equals three, double bogey two). After four strokes over, the hole is crossed out and not counted toward the golfer’s score.

“The reason we do Stableford points at the early part of the season is it’s a little more positive,” Sage said. “We will get to stroke play when we get to our league matches.”

Kaik, the Falcons’ only state competitor last year, started the day with a long drive on the first hole.

“I felt pretty confident today. My range has been pretty good and my putting has been pretty good,” Kaik said.

“The wind kind of knocked it out of the places I wanted it to go. It could have gone farther but the wind held it back.”

The fourth hole presented problems. Kaik hit into a sand bunker and spent several strokes trying to get onto the green.

“I got stuck in the bunker and couldn’t get out,” Kaik said. “I probably should’ve just practiced sand bunkers today.”

She saved her best hole for last. On the ninth, Kaik chipped onto the green about a foot from the cup. It was a nice reward for the work she put in during the fall on her chipping and putting.

“My chip was like a foot away from the hole, so that’s pretty good,” she said.

A pair of freshmen had the team’s second-best scores at eight points each. Rosie Portillo and Molly Sage finished well in their first competitive match, their coach said.

“I was really pleased with the freshman play,” Coach Sage said.

Junior Hannah Cotton, whose coach said has the longest drive on the team, finished with seven points. Caitlin Hansen was the fifth counted scorer for the Falcons with five points. Audrey D’Girolamo scored one point as the sixth varsity golfer. Her score was not added to the team’s final points.

“I learned what I expected — that they are determined, they work hard through it and they have great attitudes,” Sage said.

“Molly’s drives are pretty consistent. Hannah’s one of our longest hitters. Jenna is also very consistent. Rosie had some nice drives as well.”

The Falcons have their first all-Cascade Conference match Wednesday, March 21 at the Snohomish Golf Course.

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