Mother Nature was an unwelcome visitor on the golf course for most of Tuesday.
In the opening round of the Class 1A state golf tournament on The Home Course in DuPont, high winds and pounding rain were the chief complaints among the golfers hoping to make the cut for today’s finals.
Elma senior Alexis Keating and Goldendale sophomore Bree Wandersheid both shot 2-over-par 74 to lead the girls by six strokes. The pair tied for second in last year’s state championship.
Wandershied said that playing in “swirling wind” was continually problematic.
“You didn’t know how it was going to be a minute later,” she said, “and the rain was cold, and with battling an umbrella, it was tough.”
That, in turn, resulted in what she called a lackluster performance.
“It was difficult on the front nine,” she said. “I was three over and birdied, and I then I was four over and I birdied, and got back to 39, but it was pretty rough.”
Keating, who won the 2A title in 2010, felt similarly.
“The conditions were rough,” the University of Colorado recruit said. “It would rain, and then be windy, and then rain. It made it more difficult, but you’ve got to work with what you’ve got.”
Keating’s sister, Lauryn, was six strokes behind at 80 for third place in her first state appearance.
“I didn’t have a great day,” the freshman said. “I’m not used to playing in winds this big, so I don’t feel too bad about it, but I’m excited about (today).”
Alyssa Maine of Freeman was in fourth, with 84 strokes, and Madisen Bentley of Life Christian Academy was three strokes behind her, with 87.
Cle Elum-Roslyn senior Rylee Iacolucci led the boys tournament after shooting 74.
“He had a good today,” said coach/father Wade Iacolucci. “Rylee’s plan today was to keep the ball in play, hit the greens and go to the center of the greens and not go pin hunting.”
Iacolucci said that the weather was already an issue when the first group teed off just after 7 a.m.
“When it got ugly, he focused on hitting it really square,” he said of Iacolucci, who finished seventh last year. “Rylee’s whole focus this season has been to work on his mental game.”
Ross Kakula of Ilwaco was a stroke behind, with 75, and Ryder Lewis of Omak and Willy Scholten of Lynden Christian were tied for third, with 76. Defending state champion Brett Johnson of Ridgefield was in an eight-way tie for 26th after shooting 83.
Ilwaco moved four golfers into the final round, making a third consecutive state title likely.