Tyler Nicol watches his pitch from off the green on hole 17 at Emerald Valley Golf Course. Photo Provided/Bob Nicol
With inclement weather and spring break disrupting early season practices and an inexperienced team comprised entirely of underclassmen, Creswell High School boys’ varsity golfers ventured into their first and last competitive outings of the season last week.
”We missed the first 1.5 weeks of practice because of the weather, and then we had spring break; and when we couldn’t practice, the guys just weren’t ready to step into a varsity tournament,” said Head Coach Jesse Thomas. ”I didn’t want to just throw them out there when they weren’t ready and have them get discouraged.”
The Bulldogs responded well to that approach, placing second among league teams and third overall during their first competitive outing – a Special District 2 league tournament hosted by La Pine on April 29 at Quail Run Golf Course.
Ethan Bryson shot a 102 as Creswell’s top finisher. Tyler Nicol shot a 108, Carter Cunninghamshot a 109, Anthony Cox shot a 114 and Darrien Hill shot a 116.
”For Ethan and Anthony, it was their first competitive round of golf – and if any of the others had any 18-hole varsity experience last year it was very little,” Thomas noted. ”They’re all very, very new to tournament golf.”
Most shot significantly better on the back nine: Bryson improved by 10 strokes, Cunningham by 11, Cox by 12 and Nicol by four, while Hill was even on the front and back nines.
”Once they got settled in, they played better,” Thomas said.
The Dawgs closed their season by competing in an invitational state preview tournament held May 1 at Emerald Valley Golf Course in Creswell, where the OSAA 3A/2A/1A Boys’ Golf State
Championships will be held May 13-14.
With just a single league tournament under their belts, the Bulldogs did not qualify to compete in this week’s Special District 2 Championships. Still, ”it was great that they allowed us to participate and just gain that much more experience,” Thomas said.
Cox shot a 112 to lead Creswell. Hill shot a 113, Bryson a 115, Cunningham a 119 and Nicol a 120.
”We didn’t do as well as we did at Quail Run, but Emerald Valley is also a significantly more difficult course,” Thomas noted.
Although their season is officially over, the Bulldogs will continue practicing, and Thomas is confident the team will be competitive next season.
”If we can keep this core group of guys, who are all only freshmen and sophomores, and they keep learning and developing, we’ll be further ahead and ready to get started early next season,” he said.