6A boys golf — Newberg's No. 1 golfer misses out on the state tournament by one stroke for the second consecutive year

BANKS — With just three experienced varsity players, Newberg was not in the hunt for a state tournament bid May 12-13 at the Pacific Conference district tournament at Quail Valley Golf Course.

But for the second straight year, Nolan DeHaven was.

The senior dug himself a hole with a first-round 84, but rallied for a 6-over-par 78 on day two, putting himself back in contention.

Unfortunately for DeHaven, missed putts on the final two holes proved to be the difference, as he finished one stroke shy of qualifying for state as an SETH GORDON - Heartbreak again - Newberg senior Nolan DeHaven putts on hole No. 15 at Quail Valley Golf Course May 13 during the second round of the Pacific Conference district tournament. DeHaven finished one spot out of qualifying for the state tournament for the second consecutive year.

“Day One pretty much sunk me,” DeHaven said. “It’s a two-day tournament for a reason, but I missed a lot of short putts on Day One that took their toll on my score. On Day Two I tried to claw my way back out of it and did a pretty good job of it, but just missed a couple putts down the stretch.”

DeHaven finished with a 162 to finish as the fourth lowest individual not on a qualifying team, as McMinnville’s Bryce Brooker fired rounds of 79 and 82 to finish at 161 and earn the final bid to state.

Had the two players tied, DeHaven would have advanced to state on the strength of his season-long stroke average, which was ninth-best in the league, earning him second-team all-Pacific Conference honors.

“In hindsight, I think he’ll look back on it and realize he gave it all he could, especially in the second round,” first-year head coach Pat Baker said. “He didn’t give up. He just kept getting after it.”

Assistant coach Andrew Grove was a senior in 2011 when DeHaven was just a freshman and after two years away from the team hardly recognized him as a player after returning this year.

“I remember when he was just that little freshman we were all picking on. I left for two years and kind of lost contact with him, but I got back and I thought he could make it to state,” Grove said. “It’s disappointing, but he worked his rear off. But that’s golf, it’s tough. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.”

Hayden Farrell had a solid tournament as well, carding matching rounds of 83 to finish four strokes adrift of DeHaven at 166, while Chris Miller finished at 185 after scores of 94 and 91.

Newberg split its remaining two slots between four players over the two rounds, with Garrett Witmer’s 108 counting as the Tigers’ fourth score in round one and Matt Hanks’ 114 going toward the team score in round 2.

Collectively, the Tigers shot rounds of 369 and 366 to finish at 735, seven shots behind seventh-place Forest Grove and 10 behind Century. Tigard wrapped up a perfect league season by winning the team tournament, with Tualatin placing second to earn a bid to state as well.

Baker replaced former head coach Branden Thompson, who moved on to lead the George Fox University men’s program, in what DeHaven described as a pretty smooth transition.

Without DeHaven next year, Baker will need to find a pair of players that can score in the 90s to compliment Farrell and Miller as the Tigers, along with Tigard and Tualatin, move to what will be an extremely good Three Rivers League next spring.

“Obviously, (there were) not a whole lot changes in my game going from coach to coach, but coach Baker did a good job,” DeHaven said. “Even though I’m not going to be back next year, I hope the team can continue to improve.”

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