Clackamas grabs fourth for second season a row at 6A girls state golf
BANKS — Clackamas High School's girls golf team brought home another state trophy just like the other one.
Sophomore Hannah Lim shot a round of 5-over-par 77 and finished with a two-day total of 157 to help lead the Cavaliers to fourth place at the OSAA Class 6A girls golf state championships at Quail Valley Golf Course in Banks.
Summit's Olivia Loberg shot rounds of 68 and 73 to finish at 3-under 141 and earn medalist honors by five strokes over Westview's Alexa Udom, while the Jesuit Crusaders shot 616 to clinch a second consecutive team title.
Westview finished eight strokes off the pace at 624, West Linn was third at 653, and Clackamas shot 659 — the same order of finish as last year's top four.
For Clackamas, Lim tied for 15th overall with Oregon City's Sophie McCoy at 157, Kristin Senatra added a 158, Madison Cooley shot 171, Paige Vancil finished at 173, and Tutu Phan shot 193.
"Our goal was to finish in the top three after we finished fourth last year, but just to be able to say we placed again is such a blessing," Senatra said. "There aren't too many high school athlete who can say they've placed two years in a row at state.
"Considering where this program started a few years ago and to see where it is now, we've improved so much, we have great team chemistry, and we all work so hard together."
Quail Valley played one way Monday when conditions were warm and dry, and then played differently Tuesday when the temperature dropped 10 degrees, the wind blew harder than it had the day before, and rain fell steadily for much of the round.
Westview set the early pace in the team race after posting a first-day score of 12-over 300. Jesuit was 15 strokes back at 315, West Linn stood third at 324, and Clackamas fourth at 330, still within striking distance of a top-three finish.
"I was really hoping we could come back with a 320 or better," Cavaliers coach Steve Vancil said. "I wanted to see each of the girls improve by two to three strokes. And, actually, we were on pace to do that, and then we had a couple of bad breaks and … that's golf.
"I was really excited the last couple of holes because I knew where we stood, and then those last couple of holes were just a struggle for almost everyone."
Each team counts its top four scores in the team total. The Cavaliers' top four — Lim, Senatra, Cooley, and Vancil — were a combined 8-over on the last two holes, which included Paige Vancil, the coach's daughter, making a triple-bogey 8 at the 428-yard par-5 17th hole after her second shot landed on the cart path and bounced over a fence and out of bounds.
"Those are the kinds of things that you have to fight through, but sometimes they just happen," Steve Vancil said. "Sometimes you have these goals that you're working toward and then it just doesn't come together as you had envisioned."
Lim, coming off her victory in the Mt. Hood Conference district championships, made two birdies in her opening-round 80, then came back with 14 pars, three bogeys, and one double-bogey in Tuesday's 77.
"I'm still working on my swing," said Lim, who closed with four consecutive pars. "After Monday's round, I hit an entire bucket of balls and practiced chipping and putting for an hour.
"Today it was windy and rainy and it was harder to play in those conditions, but somehow I scored better. My putts were going in and I wasn't pulling my shots like I did on Monday. I know I could have shot better, but I'm okay with it."
Senatra, a junior, shot a team-best 77 on Monday and was in contention for a top-10 finish after posted a 2-over 38 with a pair of birdies on the front nine Tuesday. She then gave ground on the back nine, making three pars, five bogeys, and one double to finish at 158.
"The front nine was definitely a lot better than the back nine," Senatra said. "I guess one of the biggest differences was that I was dropping more putts on the front and my ball striking was more accurate, so I was just hitting shots a lot straighter and I had more control of the ball.
"On the back nine, I just didn't have as much control over the ball, I guess as I got tired, my body started moving around more so my swing was a little off and my ball striking was a little inaccurate, going left and right, and my putting didn't go as well."
Up and down
Cooley, the Cavaliers' lone senior, followed up her opening-round 88 with an 83, bringing it home with a par-par-bogey finish.
"I struggled a lot off the tee," Cooley said. "I tried to make it up with my short game, and usually I do better with that, but my putting was a little off.
"On Monday, when it was so sunny, the greens were faster. And then today with the rain and wind, it was hard to gauge the speed a little bit for me. Overall, it wasn't my best, but it was on par with how I played this season."
Paige Vancil, another junior, opened the tournament shooting 85 with nothing higher than a 6 on her scorecard Monday, then came back with an 88 that dropped her seven positions on the leaderboard, finishing alone in 33rd place.
Phan, also a junior, shot rounds of 95 and 98 to finish in a tie for 54th in the field of 90 golfers.
"I'm really proud of all the players and how they battled," Cavaliers coach Steve Vancil said. "You always want to finish higher, but … how can I not be happy with what they've done?
"They didn't have their 'A' game, but the stuff they've been working on with their short games has really come together and helped save them. As you try to become better at this game, sometimes you're not always going to hit it the way you want, but your short game can really make a difference."
This year marked the sixth season in a row Clackamas has qualified a team to the state tournament. It also was only the second time in program history that the Cavaliers have gone home with a state trophy.
Clackamas is losing Cooley to graduation, but everyone else is eligible to return. There also are at least two incoming freshmen who are already posting scores in the mid-80s on the OGA Junior Golf circuit and could compete for spots on the varsity team next spring.
"The program is doing great," Cooley said. "We've progressed all four years I've been here and I'm really proud of how far we've come. The team that they have coming back next year should come back to state and do even better.
"We've got a bunch of girls that I know are going to work hard and keep working hard, and coaches who are going to do what they can to improve everyone's skills."
Added Lim: "I'm really proud of our team. I think we did really good this year and I can see us doing much, much better next year, too."