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Peninsula Daily News
SPANAWAY — The goal for the three area golfers participating in the girls 2A state tournament at The Classic Golf Club is to survive to see Wednesday.
Dana Fox of Port Angeles and Sequim’s Maddy Fisher and Elisa Sallee all hope to be among the top 40 golfers in today’s opening round so they can move on to play in Wednesday’s second round.
Area boys golfers have the same goal to make it to the second day. More on them later in the story.
Wolves girls coach Garrett Smithson said his golfers’ strategy to reach the second day goes against the conventional approach to golf.
“The basic goal is to bogey every hole,” he said.
“We don’t worry about what the par [for each hole] is.”
If the plan is executed, Sallee and Fisher would shoot about 90, which should be more than enough to reach the second day.
Smithson said that in recent years, the average cut has been 96.
Last year, all golfers who shot 99 or better moved on to the second day of the tournament.
“[Fisher and Sallee are] both returners, so they’ve done the state thing before,” Smithson said.
“The expectation is for both of them to make the cut.”
Sallee, who is a senior, is making her third trip to state, while Fisher, a junior, is playing at state for the second time.
Neither has made the cut in their previous attempts.
Fisher shot a 104, and Sallee a 105, on last year’s opening day.
Fox, meanwhile, is playing at state for the third time and aiming to make her second cut.
The junior opened with a 94 last year and followed with a 103 for a tournament score of 197, which gave her a 34th-place finish.
“The goal is [for Fox] to do better than last year,” Port Angeles coach Beth Krause said.
Partially, that objective is out of Fox’s reach.
“It’s a tough course, so it depends on how everyone else does,” Krause said.
The course is a big unknown for Fox, as well as Sallee and Fisher.
No course experience
Although all three have been on the state stage before, none has prior experience with The Classic.
The last two 2A girls state tourneys have been held at Lake Spanaway Golf Course.
It’s a different setup than they play at their respective home courses, Cedars at Dungeness for Sequim and Peninsula Golf Club for the Roughriders.
“There are lots of trees, so it’s really narrow,” Krause said.
“Big greens, and sand traps around most greens that are a funky shape.
“Peninsula [Golf Club] can be narrow, too, but it can also be forgiving in places.”
Monday’s state tournament practice round was the first time Fisher, Sallee and Fox played The Classic, and it will likely be crucial to the level of success they have today.
“We’ll know what distance to hit and what club to use,” Krause said.
The practice round will be especially helpful in mapping out a plan for Sallee, who Smithson said is one of the longest hitters in the state tournament.
“She absolutely smashes it,” Smithson said.
“She can probably hit a 4-iron farther than three-fourths of the other golfers [at state] can hit a driver.”
Because Sallee’s long game is her strength, her club selection off the tee — whether it be a driver, hybrid or iron — might determine how successful she is today.
Fisher relies more on ball control than on distance.
“She’s accurate and keeps the ball in front of her,” Smithson said.
“But, the good thing is they both know their strengths, and they feed off each other. They’ll ask each other questions.”
Krause said distance is definitely one of Fox’s strengths, but her biggest improvement over the past year has come in her short game.
“She practices a lot and loves the game,” Krause said.
“She’s dedicated to improving; she has worked a lot on her putting and chipping.”
Fox and Fisher, who both qualified for state at the Olympic League tournament, tee of ftoday at 10:18 a.m. and 10:50 a.m., respectively.
Sallee, who qualified at the district tournament, tees off at 12:10 p.m.
State starts today
The Port Angeles and Chimacum boys golfers begin their quest to make noise at their respective state tournaments beginning today.
The 2A and 1A tourneys open today and conclude Wednesday.
All golfers are trying to survive the first day to make it to the second day and have a shot at the team trophies.
The field of 80 golfers in each tournament will be cut in half after today to the top 40.
Those surviving 40 golfers will battle for all the state honors, including the individual and team championships.
The Roughriders, seeking to fulfill their season-long goal of a best-ever top-three finish, are playing at Chambers Bay in University Place, just south of Tacoma.
Port Angeles has a best-ever five golfers at state and is in a good position to challenge for the state championship.
First-day tee times for the Riders are Joe Barnes at 8:47 a.m., Micah Needham at 10:26 a.m., Alex Atwell at 10:37 a.m., Garrett Payton at 10:48 a.m., and Austin Underwood at 10:59 a.m.
The key to a high team finish, according to long-time Port Angeles coach Mark Mitrovich, is to get as many golfers as possible into the tourney’s second day of competition.
Teams need to have at least two golfers playing on the second day to be eligible for team awards.
Last year the Riders finished a best-ever fifth place, just half a point out of fourth place.
Barnes, who was leading the tourney after the first day, sparked the Riders by capturing sixth place.
Barnes and his teammates are up for a new experience because Chambers Bay, a fairly new public course that will host the 2015 U.S. Open, is a Scottish links-style course.
It is nothing like the courses the Riders have experience playing.
“It will be interesting to see how we perform on a links course,” Mitrovich said.
“Micah Needham is the only one from our team to have played on it. I haven’t even played on it.”
A links course is wide open, not like the normal Pacific Northwest course that is loaded with trees and water.
“Links courses have few trees and little or no water and sand,” Mitrovich said.
They do have a lot of small, rolling hills. These little hills can be deceiving because they can hide sand traps on the other side.
“It’s the kind of course where you need to take notes of where to shoot the ball,” Mitrovich said.
“Chambers Bay is 250 acres of pure links golf.”
The Cowboys, meanwhile, will compete at the more traditional American course — Lake Spanaway Golf Course in Spanaway today and Wednesday.
Chimacum has three golfers at state, enough to challenge in the team standings if at least two advance to the second day.
Tee times for the Cowboys today are 7:57 a.m. for Riley Downs, 8:42 a.m. for Kevin Miller and 9:27 a.m. for Nathan Browning.
Lake Spanaway is not for sissies, long-time Chimacum coach Mitch Black said.
“Spanaway is a tough course,” he said.
“It has a lot of big trees and other obstacles.”
The trees can make the course narrow and unforgiving.