Puyallup in position to claim first 4A boys state golf title

Staff reportMay 29, 2014 

Glenn Halverson has had an abundance of success as the Puyallup High School boys golf coach.

He has sent standouts to college programs. His teams has won multiple South Puget Sound League titles.

But the Vikings have never seriously threatened for the Class 4A state team championship.

Until now.

Led by Tanner Kovacevich’s 1-under-par 71, the Vikings are right in the thick of the team race after the opening day of the state tournament at Camas Meadows Golf Club.

Kovacevich hit his 3-iron over the pond guarding the par-5 18th hole, and he got up and down for a final birdie to move into a tie for third place behind leader Sean Yi, a freshman from Jefferson who shot a 69.

Mitchell Baldridge came in with a 73, and Chase Carlson posted a 77 as three of the four Puyallup golfers made the cut.

“There were a lot of kids walking around with slouching shoulders because the course is playing challenging,” Halverson said. “We are in a very nice position … in the team aspect. And Chase shooting a 77 — for him, that is high, and hopefully he will have a better day tomorrow.”

Added Kovacevich: “We are all feeling good. We like the course layout. We are going for that team title.”

Lions go 6-for-6 in 4A girls: Four-time defending 4A girls champion Bellarmine Prep did not overwhelm the field with great scoring, but the Lions advanced all six of their golfers to the final day at Club Green Meadows in Vancouver, Washington.

They were led by Alivia Brown, who shot a 3-over 76 and is tied for third. Olivia Benzin had a 78. Defending champion Sierra Kersten of Lewis and Clark leads at 73.

“The course played pretty tough. Even if you were in the fairway, the greens did not hold anything,” Bellarmine Prep coach Mark Bender said. “As an overall team, it’s the highest (score) we have had all year. But getting six to the second day … was our claim to fame. It was definitely a team effort.”

2A/1A results: Fife’s Kendall Gray shot a 5-over 79 at The Classic Golf Club in Spanaway, good enough for a three-stroke lead at the halfway point.

She gained that advantage when she birdied the 17th hole, hitting her wedge approach shot within 10 feet and sinking the putt. Her playing partners bogeyed the hole.

“Last week, she was trying to qualify for the U.S. Open playing with professional women. To me, that is pressure,” Fife coach Mike Ryan said. “So this is a fun tournament for her now as a senior whereas when she was a sophomore, it was scary and had a lot of pressure.”

In the 2A boys tournament at Chambers Bay in University Place, Orting’s Joe Harvie shot a 1-over 73. He trails Sammamish’s Matt Marrese, who had a 65, including a hole-in-one at the 15th hole.

Orting coach Gary Jones said Harvie, who was third in the 2A tournament last year, just needs to stick to his game plan in the final round.

“There is no pushing this course,” Jones said. “Just play what they give you.”

In 1A action at Lake Spanaway Golf Course, Zillah’s Derrick Phelps and Hoquiam’s John Sand lead the boys tournament at 1-over 73. Goldendale’s Bree Wanderscheid, the two-time defending 1A girls champion, is the leader at 4-over 76.

Other leaders: Spencer Tibbits of Fort Vancouver (70) led the 3A boys at Tri-Mountain Golf Course in Ridgefield. Mount Spokane’s Sierra Bezdicek (72) topped the 3A girls leaderboard at Lewis River Golf Course in Woodland. … La Conner’s Brendan McLeod (78) and DeSales’ Emily Baumgart (73) led the 1B/2B tournaments at RMG Club at Oakbrook in Lakewood.

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