Cowboys win regional tournament, qualify for state
The Crook County Cowboys played some of their best golf of the year on Monday at the Special District 1 Golf Championships.
That round gave the Cowboys a 12-shot lead, which they never relinquished as they rolled to the district title and a berth in the state championships.
"These kids have played tournament golf, but they have never been in one of these two-day things where they had the lead and were under pressure trying to hold on and advance," Crook County head coach Zach Lampert said. "You could definitely tell that the pressure got to them a little bit, especially early, but they weathered the storm and played better on the back nine. They held it together enough to hold on to that lead, so that was cool."
It was the second time this year that the Cowboys had played on the Indian Creek Golf Course in Hood River.
The first time, the team shot their highest round of the year, posting a score of 391 as they struggled on a course that Lampert called quirky.
The team left early for the district tournament and played 18 holes on Sunday to get more familiar with the course.
Monday, the Cowboys fired a round of 345, 12 shots better than second-place Hood River Valley and 31 shots ahead of third-place The Dalles.
Three teams from the Northwest League were also at the tournament, but all three of them were far out of contention.
Tuesday, the wind blew harder, and the Cowboys struggled, especially early in their round.
Brodie Kuizenga, who had been second at the end of day one with a round of 77, struggled all day Tuesday, finishing with a 97, his highest score of the year.
Trenton Brinkley, who had fired an 83 on the opening day, also struggled on day two, limping home with a score of 92.
However, Hogan Smith played steady golf both days, shooting a round of 86 on day one, then firing an 86 on day two.
Cayden Lowenbach, who shot a round of 100 in the opening round, struggled on the front nine on Tuesday and ended up with a score of 104.
Fortunately for the Cowboys, Addison Peer, who did not play on Monday, shot his best round of the year on Tuesday, posting a score of 94.
Carlos Sanchez, who earned his varsity spot in the last tournament of the year, played on Monday but did not count in the scoring, posting a score of 103.
The Cowboys' team score soared to 369 on Tuesday, giving them a two-day total of 714, good enough to win by seven strokes over second-place Hood River.
"The wind blew and the course was set up tough, too," Lampert said of the second day of golf. "The greens were just lightning fast, and they put in tough pin placements. They must have thought we were college golfers or something. They were a little nasty, but it all worked out for us."
Hood River Valley finished with a score of 721. The Dalles, which looked like it was out of contention on Monday, made a strong run on Tuesday, closing to within 15 shots of the Cowboys with a two-day total of 729.
La Salle Prep, 807, St. Helens, 814, and Scappoose, 822, finished out the scoring.
Tyler Vassar of The Dalles earned medalist honors with a two-day total of 153, while Aidan Telles, also of The Dalles, finished in second with a score of 161.
Chase Elliott of Scappoose and Ren Tappert also qualified for the state tournament as individuals with Elliott finishing third overall with a score of 167. Tappert finished in seventh with a score of 178.
In between were a trio of Cowboys as Smith finished fourth, 171, Kuizenga fifth, 174, and Brinkley sixth, 175.
Lampert noted that it is important for the Cowboys to get state tournament experience this year as every one of their varsity golfers except for Peer return again next year.
"It will be a good experience just for them to get there and to get that out of the way, so that next year is not a surprise," he said. "It's not that I'm giving up on this year, it's just that I'm looking ahead."
The state tournament will be held Monday and Tuesday, May 13-14 at Trysting Tree Golf Course in Corvallis.
Lampert said that the course should suit the Cowboys well as it has several similarities to Meadow Lakes, their home course.
"Trysting Tree feels more like our home course," he said. "It looks similar. It plays similar. The Ridgeview guys have been coming over to practice here, just because it is a better place to practice for over there than their own course. That will be good for us."
Ridgeview qualified for the state tournament by winning the Intermountain Conference Championship and did not have to play in the Special District 1 tournament.
Special District 1 Golf Championships
Indian Creek Golf Course
Team scores — 1. Crook County, 714. 2. Hood River Valley, 721. 3. The Dalles, 729. 4. La Salle Prep, 807. 5. St. Helens, 814. 6. Scappoose, 822.
Medalist — Tyler Vassar, The Dalles, 153.
Top ten — 1. Tyler Vassar, The Dalles, 153. 2. Aidan Telles, The Dalles, 161. 3. Chase Elliott, Scappoose, 167. 4. Hogan Smith, Crook County, 171. 5. Brodie Kuizenga, Crook County, 174. 6. Trenton Brinkley, Crook County, 175. 7. Ren Tappert, Hood River Valley, 178. 8. Chad Klaas, Hood River Valley, 179. 9. Dylan Santee, Hood River Valley, 180. 10. Owen Clement, Hood River Valley, 184.
Crook County (345-369—714) — Hogan Smith, 85-86—171. Brodie Kuizenga, 77-97—174. Trenton Brinkley, 83-92—175. Cayden Lowenbach, 100-104—204. Carlos Sanchez/Addison Peer, 103-94—197.