Clackamas' Nick Lasko leads regional with career-low, 9-under 63
Clackamas senior Nick Lasko played a round of golf last Tuesday that was unlike any round of golf he has ever played.
Lasko made 10 birdies, seven pars, and one bogey for a career-best round of 9-under-par 63 to blow away the field at the OSAA 6A Special District 2 regional tournament at the OGA Golf Course in Woodburn.
Lasko's younger brother, Alex, added a round of 76, Hunter Johnson shot 82, and Cal Milligan carded an 86 as the Cavaliers shot a winning team score of 307 to clinch one of the regional's two at-large team berths into this week's OSAA Class 6A boys golf state championship tournament beginning Tuesday at Trysting Tree Golf Course in Corvallis.
West Linn finished at 310 to edge Tigard by one shot for the other at-large bid, while Oregon City's Max Fabrycki shot 74 and Barlow Evan Inglesby shot 75 to the two individual at-large berths to state.
Lasko had already qualified for the state tournament as an individual after sharing medalist honors at the Mt. Hood Conference district championships, but Clackamas had finished third as a team at district, so the regional tournament was the Cavaliers' shot at some redemption as a team - and they made the most of it with Lasko leading the charge.
"It's couldn't have happened at a better time," Lasko said. "The key for me was consistency and I had 26 putts. I've had 23 putts in a round before, so 26 isn't too crazy, but I really played consistently.
"I hit fairways, I hit green, and when I hit greens, I happened to make putts. My putter felt super-good in my hands, and so did every other club, really."
Lasko opened his round by making a 25-foot birdie putt and No. 1, a 15-foot birdie putt at No. 2, a 5-foot birdie putt at No. 4, and a tap-in birdie putt at No. 9, making the turn at 4-under 32.
On the back nine, Lasko's birdie binge continued with a 10-foot putt at No. 10, a two-putt birdie from 25 feet at No. 11, a 2-footer at No. 13, a 7-footer at No. 15, a tap-in at No. 16, and, finally, a "huge, left-to-right slider over a ridge from 30 feet" at No. 18.
"I've waited a long time for that one breakthrough where I just catch fire and go low," said Lasko, who played in a foursome with David Douglas' Andrew Barker, Lakeridge's Aaron Buck, and West Linn's Arthur Venderby. "I've been so close in conditions like these before and finally it just happened. It's hard to describe it because you're just in the zone and it just happens."
The only blemish on the scorecard was a bogey at the No. 17, the 155-yard par-3, where he hit a 9-iron to the back of the green and three-putted for bogey.
He also had an impressive par save at No. 5, the 509-yard par-5, where he flew his second shot over the green into a hazard, took a penalty stroke, then chipped it from the drop area to within 10 feet and made the putt.
Lasko's previous best was a 65 in a practice round at the Eagle Crest Ridge Course in Redmond, and his lowest competitive round before Tuesday was a 68 in a PNGA Junior Boys event last summer at TimberStone Golf Course in Caldwell, Idaho.
After that 63 and the team's 307, Lasko and the Cavaliers are in the discussion when it comes to possible state title contenders.
"I'm excited," Lasko said. "I think Trysting Tree sets up for us really well. I feel like with the shape my game is in, who knows if another 63 could pop up, but I'm really feeling confident with my game. I can't wait to get down there.
"My goal is to win it, but there are a lot of good golfers who will be there, and with the way golf is around the state right now, there are so many players who could win it, realistically."