Newberg High golfers are focusng on improvement
So far, it has been a smooth transition with the Newberg boys and girls golf teams, who welcomed Luke Lindell as their new coach this spring.
Lindell is also the Tigers' girls basketball coach and a player himself, but is making his debut as a coach in golf.
"I grew up in a small town, so I never had the opportunity to actually compete in golf," Lindell said. "But it's something I definitely care a lot about and am invested in it just in my own personal life. To take on a different challenge was a big thing. I've coached a lot of different sports, but not this. It's a passion of mine and to be able to come out and coach has been a good experience."
Both teams were back in action Monday in Three Rivers League play.
Led by junior Becca Palmer, who shot a team-best 125, the Tigers placed eighth at 520 at Oswego Lake Country Club.
"She definitely hits the ball well off the tee, has a lot of power," Lindell said of Palmer, the most experienced player on the squad. "It's really just harnessing that and making sure she can stay in play. If she putts and chips well, she has the ability to go low."
Rounding out the effort were sophomore Aly Davidson (130), sophomore Abby Dikeman (131) and freshman Maddy Roque (134). Davidson and Dikeman both played varsity last year under previous coach Andrew Stockner.
"They've definitely grown a lot maturity-wise and understanding more how to play golf more," Lindell said. "Their scores are definitely better than what they were playing last year, so that's a positive sign for them."
Lindell said he believes all four could challenge to be the team's low scorer on any given round.
"There's some good competition amongst the girls, good friendly competition, and they all want each other to play well," Lindell said.
Meanwhile, the boys were at Willamette Valley Golf Club in Canby, where they posted a 393 to place eighth.
Simon Luedtke was steady in posting an 88 to lead the way, with junior Chase Dubois coming in at 101.
So far, Lindell said he has been impressed with how Luedtke, as a sophomore, has handled the transition to being the team's top player.
"He definitely works at his game and cares a lot about being good and looks the part of being a No. 1 varsity player," Lindell said. "Last year he was playing a lot of No. 2 and his scores weren't necessarily in that ball park of being a No. 1-type of player, but this year he's definitely stepped up big time in a leadership role for our program. Only being a sophomore, he's very mature about how he practices and goes about his game.
Senior Brad Walther and freshman Sam Toohey both shot 102 to complete the team scoring and help Newberg break 400 for the second straight week.
"There's good competition for spots on varsity," Lindell said. "We have some freshmen,Toohey and Rhett Miller, who have come in and pushed some of those older kids a little bit. It's been fun to watch because there definitely has been competition the first five weeks of the season.
Both teams will return to action next week, with the boys headed to Oswego Lake Monday and the girls scheduled to play at Willamette Valley April 10.
"It's still early and the kids are rounding into form," Lindell said. "We just want to see them in April just continue to get better and more consistent as we lead into districts."
Anaheim Lions Tournament – Newberg (0-9) went 0-5 at the spring break tournament in California, dropping games to Kennedy (La Palma, Calif.), Reed (Sparks, Nev.), Sunny Hills (Fullerton, Calif.), Anaheim (Calif.) and Damonte Ranch (Reno. Nev.). The Tigers will open up Three Rivers League play Wednesday at home versus West Linn.
Hermiston 16, Newberg 3 – Hermiston scored five in the second inning and eight in the third to pull away March 26 at the Milwaukie Spring Break Tournament.
Roosevelt 8, Newberg 6 – The Tigers exploded for five runs in the top of the fifth to pull ahead 6-5, but the Roughriders answered with three in the bottom of the sixth to steal the win March 26.
Reynolds 9, Newberg 8 – The Tigers (1-8) lost another heartbreaker Monday. Newberg scored four in the bottom of the fifth to pull ahead 7-5, but the Raiders scored four in the top of the seventh to make it 9-7. Miah Hergert scored on a passed ball in the bottom of the eighth to make it 9-8, but Newberg was caught stealing third on the same play to end the game.