SEQUIM — Sequim sophomore Paul Jacobsen overcame a mid-season back injury to shave two strokes off his scoring average, claimed the Olympic League 2A Boys Golf Championship and finished 13th overall at the Class 2A State Golf Championship helping Sequim to finish second as a team — the best finish in program history.
Jacobsen averaged 36.4 strokes per nine holes this season, tops in the Olympic League, and earned league MVP honors.
He’s also the All-Peninsula Boys Golf MVP as selected by the sports staff of the Peninsula Daily News.
Sequim golf coach Bill Shea, director of golf at Cedars at Dungeness, is impressed with Jacobsen’s ability.
“He prettty much shines everywhere,” Shea said. “He has a very good all-around game. He’s a good driver of the ball and has an incredible short game. With all the other events that he plays he is tournament hardened and has plenty of mental game experience.
“He’s really disciplined. He has the same pre-shot routine, takes his time before he hits a shot and one of the reasons his swing is so repeatable and consistent is because he does the same thing every time and it makes him comfortable to execute his shots.
“Paul has very few weaknesses.”
It can be difficult for scratch golfers, those with handicaps lower than five strokes, to trim their scores even further, but Jacobsen was up to the task this spring.
“Probably really working on my course management and committing to every shot,” Jacobsen said to explain the improvement in his game. “And also really working on the mental aspect of the game. Not letting any shot go to waste. That’s probably the biggest thing not throwing away any shots.
“Last year [as a freshman], I probably wasn’t as strong mentally and made some careless mistakes.”
Jacobsen agreed with Shea’s assessment of his short-game skills, citing those as his biggest strength on the course.
“My short game, I’ve definitely enjoyed practicing it from the time I started playing golf,” Jacobsen said.
That work has paid off and was particularly impressive in a second-round performance at the Egbers Memorial Tournament at Skagit Golf and Country Club.
Jacobsen needed just 22 putts to complete his 18-hole round.
“It was the best putting display I’ve ever seen,” Shea said. “These weren’t a bunch of close, gimme putts either, he was chipping to 20 feet and then he’s making those.”
Jacobsen pointed to that round as “really fun.”
“I was just very focused and very confident with short game,” Jacobsen said. “My long game was a little off but I had such a good day with my putter.”
Jacobsen was forced to miss three matches mid-season after a trip to California.
“I was really disappointed with that,” he said. “It happened on my way back from California, I hadn’t hit a golf ball for a couple of weeks and was in a plane and a car for a really long time. I got to the course and swung really hard without warming up very much and hurt a muscle in my back.”
Jacobsen, who said he was more focused on growing his game off the tee and with his approach shots in to greens this season, couldn’t practice a full swing while he recooperated, so he continued to hone his chipping and putting.
“I could chip, I could putt, so I still showed up to practice as much as I could and tried to progress those as much as I could.”
He came back in time to claim the Olympic League title with a 1-under-round of 71 at Cedars at Dungeness, qualifying for his second straight state tournament appearance.
At state, Jacobsen, fellow sophomore Andrew Vanderberg and junior Blake Wiker combined to place second as a team.
“It was a lot of fun at state,” Jacobsen said. “For next year that would be awesome if our team could get the title. It would be a huge accomplishment.”
Before then, Jacobsen will continue to grow his game by playing in the Washington Junior Golf Association State Championship and some American Junior Golf Association tournaments like the Ryan Moore Junior Championship in Lakewood in early July.
“He wants to play at the collegiate level and the summer after sophomore and junior years are pretty important times to make a bigger name for himself,” Shea said.
“He can go as far as he wants. He has the love of the game, a solid foundation in his golf swing. There’s really nothing stopping him.”
All-Peninsula Boys Golf Team
MVP — Paul Jacobsen, soph., Sequim: Olympic League MVP averaged 36.4 strokes per nine holes in Olympic League competitions this spring. Won Olympic League Championship and finished 13th at Class 2A State Golf Tournament.
Blake Wiker, jr., Sequim: Trimmed a stroke off his sophomore scores with a 37.71 scoring average. Second at Olympic League Tournament and finished 10th individual to lead second-place Wolves at state.
Andrew Vanderberg, soph., Sequim: 38.67 average was third in Olympic League. Finished 25th at state.
Josiah Carter, sr., Sequim: Sixth-best Olympic League 2A scoring average of 41 and qualified for second consecutive state golf tournament.
Mathew Locke, jr., Port Angeles: Roughriders’ most consistent player posted season scoring average of 43.38 shots per nine holes. Qualified for Class 2A State Golf Tournament.
Jacob Madison, soph., Port Townsend: Second among Olympic League 1A golfers with a 43.82 scoring average.
Logan Storm, senior, Chimacum: Qualified for Class 1A state tournament.