By Jeremy McDonald
MCMINNVILLE, Ore.–Rain, please..It’s just golfing in Oregon!
Days following the guys playing in the winter weather, it was the girls turn as they battle through the muck and grime of the course caused by Mother Nature’s fury with rain for their first Greater Valley Conference League Dual meet Monday afternoon.
“Well, it’s tough out here in this weather and the conditions have been tough for the entire golf season so far,” said South Salem Head Coach Brian Eriksen. “But we’re two weeks in and they’ve improved a lot from week one to week two.
“Ellie (Slama) and Ashley (Zhu) played great golf once again, but our three, four, five…Mak, Chatel and Zia, all stepped up today and played lights out and that’s we needed and we got it.”
Mak Gentry, the Saxon’s number three golfer, shot a 50 on the backside nine en route to a 101 round of 18 and Gentry admits excitement got in the way on the final hole as she could’ve cracked under 100 if she stayed focus on the task at hand with her chipping.
Something she admits she can improve on moving forward.
“I think I was a little excited,” laughed Gentry. “It was partially excitement and partially just not being the best at chipping either, but I’m getting better though.”
As for Slama and Zhu, it seemed as if it was a sunny day in May as Slama slammed her way to an incredible 69 round and Zhu not far behind with a 74.
Eriksen isn’t surprised as he points to both golfers playing year-round, but knows that the challenge that McMinnville’s Emma Beyer presented as both golfers were neck-and-neck until the final few holes.
“It’s good to have the pressure now,” said Eriksen. “This is Emma’s home course, Emma’s a great player and she played lights out today and put pressure on both Ashley and Ellie. Ellie did a great job stepping up, you got to give it to Emma too, she played great on her home course.”
Beyer finished with a 72 round, three-strokes off of Slama and two-ahead of Zhu for second overall.
For West Salem Head Coach Shawn Stanley, he knows that this first league dual meet is just a stepping stone of what is to come for the remainder of the season as the girls gain more experience on the golf course.
“It’s good, it’s just all relative right at this point, it’s something to build off of,” said Stanley. “I think the reality is that South Salem team is ways out in front and I’m going to talk to our girls and say, ‘hey look at where we are, where other teams are around us’ and then we got to find a way to move up a couple of spots.
Mary Short led the team with a 96 and a finished strong with a 44 back-nine. Ayle Armstrong did too finish off the 18 hole meet with shooting a back-end 61 after shooting a 67 on the front-nine.
As the teams move back to home fields to improve upon around Spring Break before their second League Dual Meet, they now have things to work on moving forward.
“Short game for sure,” said Stanley. “It’s somewhere you can make up a lot of strokes. Tomorrow and Wednesday were going to be almost exclusively putting and chipping. I think that’s name of the game at any level…if your a recreational golfer or these girls.
“I think I saw some four- or five-puts and there’s no reason, these girls are talented enough to two- and three-putt instead of four- or five and it’s going to be something regardless of your athletic ability or ability to hit the ball a long way, anyone can be a good putter if they work at it and that’s what we’re really going to improve on.”
Other notables are Sprague’s Quincy Beyrouty (87) and Reese Sherwood (105) and McNary’s Hannah Elliott (106) and Juralee Stover (116). Forest Grove’s Hailey Peterson shot a 102
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