Kendall Gray never adds up her score. So it was not until she had walked off the course that she realized she had won the Class 2A girls state golf championship.
Gray, a senior at Fife High School, bested Bellingham senior Jenn Paul by one stroke at The Classic Golf Club in Spanaway to claim the title after two consecutive runner-up finishes.
Bellingham won its 12th team title in 13 years with 98 points, ahead of Hockinson with 73.
“It feels great to finally win,” said Gray, who shot an 8-over-par 80 on Thursday for a two-day total of 15-over 159. “It was a long time coming. I didn’t want to go out any other way.”
Gray said her method of not focusing on her score paid off because she didn’t realize that she and Paul were tied going into the 18th hole.
“If I would have known that putt was to win it, I probably would have freaked out a little more,” said Gray, who had an opening-round 79.
Victory wasn’t certain as Gray hit a tree on the third shot of the 18th hole — a par 5 — and Paul was on the green in three.
But on Gray’s fourth shot, she hit her 70-yard approach 3 inches from the cup.
“That last shot was perfect,” she said. “It was right where I wanted it.”
And it seemed to rattle Paul, who eventually three-putted for bogey and second place.
“It got to me,” Paul said, adding that she knew they were tied. “I regret knowing it because I wish I was just going against par on that hole, and not against Kendall.”
Paul posted the low round of the day at 78, to finish at 160.
Sequim freshman Alex McMenamin placed third with a two-day total of 171.
JUNIOR RULES 2A BOYS
Familiarity played an key role in deciding the 2A boys state championship at Chambers Bay Golf Course in University Place.
Sammamish junior standout Matt Maresse – a caddy at Chambers Bay for several years – shot a 3-under 68 in his second round after a 6-under 65 first round to win the individual title by an impressive 11 shots at 9-under 133.
“I know this course pretty well so nothing surprised me out there,” Maresse said. “I’m comfortable here. ... As long as I play my game, I know I’ll do well (anywhere).”
Ephrata’s Aaron Whalen, last year’s champion, and Bellingham’s Cody Roth finished tied for second at 2-over 144.
Roth’s Red Raiders won the team title with 1071/2 points — well ahead of second-place Clarkston (68)
Orting senior Joe Harvie finished alone in fourth-place with a 6-over 148 (73-75).
ELMA’S KEATING WINS
Elma junior Lauryn Keating knocked off two-time defending 1A champion Bree Wanderscheid of Goldendale to win the state title by one stroke at Lake Spanaway Golf Course.
Keating, a University of Colorado commit who had finished third the past two state tournaments, came to the 17th hole trailing by one shot but coaxed in an 8-foot putt for par. Wanderscheid missed the green and failed to get up and down for par to fall into a tie for the lead.
On the par-4 18th, Wanderscheid missed a 20-footer for par. Keating two-putted for par to finish off a 1-over-par 73 round.
Keating finished at 7-over 151; Wanderscheid shot a 76.Staff writers Todd Milles and Kevin Manning contributed to this report.