Home course helps Falcon boys golfers land first conference win

Jerimiah Robey chips from the fourth fairway Thursday.  - Ben Watanabe / The Record
Jerimiah Robey chips from the fourth fairway Thursday.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / The Record

USELESS BAY — Home advantage made the difference for South Whidbey’s boys golf team Thursday. The Falcons claimed their first Cascade Conference victory with a four stroke edge against the top-seeded Archbishop Murphy Wildcats.

“Our boys won,” said Falcon head coach Steve Jones.

South Whidbey relied on its familiarity with the greens at Useless Bay Golf & Country Club to take down the top teams and win its first league meet.

“It is so close right now,” Jones said. “Archbishop Murphy is in the lead right now in the league standings. We’re tied with King’s for second.”

“The way the course is set up, there’s a lot of out of bounds, it’s generally pretty narrow and there’s a lot of water hazards.”

The Falcons were helped by their top two golfers, seniors Harrison Price and Jesse Portillo. Price claimed his fourth conference medalist (the top individual golfer) honor in as many meets with a final score of 54 through 14 holes, good for one under par.

“I struggled off the tee on quite a few holes. I just kind of found a way to make pars and took advantage of the shorter holes,” Price said.

“I didn’t miss any inside 10 feet, so that was a plus. It’s good to be at a point where I can have rounds like that and still shoot a 72.”

Putting has been an emphasis for Price this season as he tries to return to the 2A state championships. He finished the course with a 72 (par), though it wasn’t counted toward the team’s score. The senior was ambivalent about his score and said there were plenty of strokes he’d like to have back.

“I just scrapped around to 72. I never felt like I was hitting the ball well or got into a rhythm,” he said.

“If I could have gotten the putter on in the middle of the round I could have rattled off six straight birdies.”

Portillo was also a state tournament golfer last year and has plans to return in May. South Whidbey’s Number 2 golfer was more enthused with the outcome of his score, than the actual number; he qualified for the Egbers Invitational, a prestigious golf tournament, on Friday, May 4 at the Skagit Golf and Country Club in Burlington.

“It feels really good. I was really hoping for that. That was a big goal of mine,” Portillo said.

The senior scored 61 and was a bit disappointed after shooting 37 through the front nine holes. Coming off a rough outing at the Port Ludlow Invitational earlier in the week, Portillo said he was comfortable with his play.

“I was keeping the ball inbounds and pretty straight down the fairways. I was making pars and wasn’t making stupid shots,” he said. “I’m at a point where I’m right there, I’m competing. And I think I’m at a level where I can do that and I can accomplish that goal (the state tourney).”

Teams were unable to finish the entire round before dusk set in, and only the first 14 holes were counted. South Whidbey’s coach was pleasantly surprised by Derrick Riley’s score of 67 strokes. Riley was slotted as the Falcons’ fifth golfer and ended up with the third-best score on the team.

“Derrick Riley really played well today. He had a fantastic round,” Jones said.

“He’s managing his mishits. They’re less erratic than they have been in the past.”

Falcon seniors Quintin Viers and Jerimiah Robey rounded out the Falcon scorers with 69 and 71, respectively.

South Whidbey has a busy week ahead. The Falcons host their final home meet against Marysville-Pilchuck on Monday, April 30. South Whidbey also has league matches Wednesday and Thursday. The conference finals are Monday, May 7 at the Snohomish Golf Course.

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