The South Whidbey boys golf team placed fifth at the state championship Tuesday at Bellingham Golf Club.
All three Falcons made the cut (the top 40 out of 80) on Monday and moved into the final round — only 13 schools had more than one player move forward.
Blake Blakey finished 18th out of 80 competitors, shooting 153 with 77 on the first day, 76 on the second on the par 72 course. Juan Fernandez was 19 with 155 (77/76) and Nathan Kamps shot 161 (78/83) for the 30th spot.
The team, which captured the Cascade Conference league title earlier this month, had been hoping to do better.
“The course was lightening fast but with a thick and unforgiving rough,” Falcon coach Steve Jones said. “As we expected, the competition was very stiff. It was wonderful that all three made the cut which allowed us to qualify for a team score.”
First-place honors went to Gaston De La Torre from Hockinson High School, north of Vancouver, who shot a two-day score of 141 (70/71).
This was Columbian exchange student Fernandez’ first time at a major American golf tournament. “The people were very nice and there were many good players,” he recalled.
“I felt good about my swing but the greens were very fast. It was a good experience playing with my friends on the team and the coach was supportive. It could have been better, but it’s over,” Fernandez said.
Though it was Kamps’ first state tournament, it wasn’t his first experience on the Bellingham course. He was there for districts last year.
“I felt pretty comfortable, but it was like putting on glass or concrete. The greens were very slick so it was hard to keep the ball in play,” he said.
“We had a couple good days of golf, perfect weather. The first day’s pairings were random —
I played with a guy from Archbishop Murphy and Mark Morris High School. After the cut, they decide based on the score and play gets serious,” Kamps added.
This summer, both boys plan to work, play golf and, for Kamps, go skimboarding. But mostly golf.
“Golf is my life,” Kamps said.
In the girls’ competition, Courtney Dettrich didn’t make the cut on the first day and finished tied for 60th out of 80 golfers at Semiahmoo Golf Club on Monday.
Katie Sharpe of Bellingham won the tournament and the Bellingham girls team won the state championship for the sixth straight year.
“Though Courtney was disappointed where she finished in the state tournament, she had a great year and I was really proud of the way she played through the league, district and state tournaments,” Falcon coach Tom Donnelly said. “Courtney had one of those up-and-down games where she found many of the tough sand traps on the front nine. That was just the kind of day it was for her,” he said.