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Falcon golfers hampered by damp course at Everett Invite
EVERETT — Rain and cold breezes finally got to the Falcon boys golfers.
At the mostly 3A and 4A golf tournament, Stanwood claimed the team title with 406 total strokes. South Whidbey was the fifth-place finisher with 436. The Falcons were only four strokes behind fourth place and had a 20-stroke lead over Cascade.
“I was a little disappointed,” said Falcon head coach Steve Jones. “I thought we’d do a little better.”
“It’s another one of those close ones where a few putts count.”
Steady rain and wind mired the eight-team tournament at Legion Memorial. The course had several spots of standing water, which made for difficult chipping and putting.
“Conditions were horrendous,” Jones said. “It rained the entire time. Windy. The fairways were soaked.”
The Falcons grew accustomed to at least having the meet’s top golfer in Harrison Price. The day before on Wednesday, Price was the medalist at a Cascade Conference meet. On Thursday, Price had to settle for second place behind Lynnwood’s Rudy Caparas with 70 strokes.
“I think I played really well. The conditions were really tough, I think I did pretty well under the umbrella,” Price said.
Price finished the round one stroke over par . Through the season, the Falcon senior and a state qualifier last year has said he will avoid playing for a number.
“I don’t have a number in mind. I just want to go out and play well, if I did that I knew the score would be good,” Price said. “I could have played a bit better. There were a couple of putts I just missed.”
“I hit a lot of greens, so my iron game was pretty good. I just kept the ball in play.”
Though there were some short game swings he’d like back, Price pointed to his play on the third hole. He was able to make par on the par-five, 546-yard hole that curved and had several bunkers.
“I hit in a bunker off the tee and was stuck up on a lift,” Price said.
Falcon senior Jesse Portillo struggled through the cold for his best score at the North Everett course. Last year, Portillo qualified for the state 2A tournament, and he has eyes to return. He made a slight improvement from his previous score at Legion Memorial last year by a couple of strokes.
“I think I played pretty decent for the conditions. There’s always room to improve. With the constant rain I think I did not too bad,” Portillo said. “I’ve definitely improved since last year. I really enjoy that course.”
The cold and rain caused Portillo to add some exercise along with walking the course.
“I was doing jumping jacks in between holes just to stay warm because it was just pouring down rain,” he said.
On the third hole, Portillo started with the best drive. His next swing put him next to a shrub, challenging a big chip to get onto the green about 20 yards away. Portillo was able to get onto the green in four strokes, and finished with a bogey.
“I was hitting my irons pretty consistently,” Portillo said.
His best hole was near the end. On the 17th, a 355-yard, par-four hole, Portillo birdied after a long drive and a long putt.
“That was when the rain kind of let up. I had a good drive and made a long putt for birdie,” he said. “It was good to end the day on a positive note.”
South Whidbey’s third golfer was Jerimiah Robey. The senior finished with a season-best 87 strokes.
“I was very pleased with that,” Jones said of Robey’s personal record.
South Whidbey’s fourth and fifth golfers scored in the 90s. Evan Merculief finished with a 96, and Derrick Riley scored a 97.
Everett, the host school, finished in second place with 415 strokes. Lake Stevens won third place with 423 strokes. South Whidbey was the only 2A school at the tournament.
Spring break begins next week for South Whidbey, and the Falcon boys golfers will also get the week off. That is, after a voluntary team weekend trip to various golf courses around Seattle. It’s an excursion the players looked forward to for reasons other than golf.
“We get to have time after golf to relax, which is nice because after matches we’re back to school,” Portillo said.
Price added: “This is the last one so you’ve got to love it. I’m just looking forward to hanging out with my buddies.”
In earlier action, at the Blue Boy West golf course in Sultan on Wednesday, Price won the meet with 33 strokes for par through the front nine holes. The Falcons took third place (202 strokes) behind Archbishop Murphy (189) and King’s (199). Through two of the six conference matches, Price has been the medalist twice, which was a positive indicator about his competitors and state aspirations.
“I was interested coming into the season to see how I’d stack up against them,” Price said. “After the first couple of matches it’s pretty evident that I’m kind of on a different level.”
South Whidbey will resume play after spring break at the Dolan Invitational on April 9, held at the Everett Golf and Country Club. The Falcons’ next conference match is Friday, April 13 at the Cedarcrest Golf Course in Marysville.