PJ Carmichael and Brodie Bordeaux have one very big thing in common in golf at Bellarmine Prep.
They were both hard-luck seniors who had never reached the Class 4A state championships.
While bigger names fell off the leaderboard, Carmichael and Bordeaux battled right to the end for the 4A Narrows League championship Wednesday afternoon at Lake Spanaway Golf Course.
Carmichael went on a back-nine birdie-making blitz, including a final one at the finishing hole to shoot a 2-under-par 70.
It was good enough to overtake Bordeaux, the overnight co-leader who lipped out a 30-foot birdie putt on No. 18 that would have tied for the lead and sent the good-friend duo into a sudden-death playoff.
Carmichael finished with a two-round total of 1-over 145, nudging out Bordeaux (146). Four golfers, including defending league champion Aubrey MacKenzie of Central Kitsap and University of Washington-bound Greg Gildea of Bellarmine Prep, tied for third at 148.
“I woke up this morning and knew I had a chance,” Carmichael said. “I was hitting the ball well. I just knew I had to make some putts.”
He birdied back-to-back par-5 holes at Nos. 9 and 10, then added two more at No. 14 and the 18th hole, where he hit a wedge approach 15 feet past the hole. He rolled in the putt.
Bordeaux chipped in from 60 feet at No. 13 for an eagle to briefly take the lead, but he gave it back with bogeys on the next two holes.
“The main goal was to make it to state,” Bordeaux said. “It hurts I lost by one (stroke) to a buddy, but in the end I accomplished my goal.
“It is nice going out on top as 1-2 (finishers). I’ve known him forever and played golf with him forever in junior golf at Fircrest.”
LIONS TAKE CHARGE IN 4A GIRLS
As the four-time defending 4A girls champions, the Lions almost treat the league tournament as a pit stop.
They were dominant once again, led by 2012 state champion Alivia Brown, who in defending her Narrows crown was the only boy or girl to leave this layout under par.
She shot a 1-under 71 on Wednesday to finish at 143, three shots ahead of teammate Olivia Benzin (76) at 146.
At one point, Brown trailed Benzin by five strokes after a four-putt double bogey at No. 3. But the Washington State University-bound senior rallied for birdies at Nos. 8, 9, 10 and 16.
“Last night … I was worried that I’d make it more into a match play in my head,” Brown said. “One of my main goals today was to work on (the) mental game, and seeing what I am capable of doing on the golf course. I wanted to go out there and make birdies.
“You never know what the other person will do.”
LINCOLN’S ROLLINS EARNS STATE BERTH
It has been at least three decades since a Lincoln High School boy advanced to the state golf championships.
Sophomore Omari Rollins ended that drought Wednesday by finishing third in the 3A Narrows boys tournament behind Shelton’s Grant Cation and Mitchell DeAndre.
Rollins shot rounds of 84 and 85 to finish at 25-over 169.
“I am excited for (state),” Rollins said. “I thought I played well. I could have shot better.”
Rollins grew up in the Virgin Islands. His parents, Fred and Veronica, started a junior golf program there, and that is when the teenager got the itch to play.
Earlier this season, he made a double eagle at Tahoma Valley Golf Course in a league match against Yelm.
On the 3A girls side, Timberline’s Mikayla Blumer, the defending league champion, made a run on the back nine, but she missed a 6-foot putt for par on the final hole that would have tied North Thurston’s Audrey Marlatt (176) for the title.