They both took different routes to get there, but Elma’s Lauryn Keating and Hoquiam’s John Sand finished at the same spot on Thursday afternoon — atop the leaderboard.
At the state 1A boys &girls golf tournaments at Lake Spanaway Golf Course in Spanaway, Keating and Sand won their first state individual championships of their careers.
Keating, a junior, sank a tap-in par putt on the 18th hole to edge out two-time state champion Bree Wandersheid to win the 1A girls title.
Sand, a freshman, ran away from the field in the final round to win the state 1A boys title by five strokes.
This isn’t the first time Keating has been atop the leaderboard at a state tournament. As a freshman, Keating played with her older sister, Alexis, and teammate Jenna Powers to combine for the state 1A girls team championship in 2012.
Keating added to her state hardware collection on Thursday with a second-day 73 for a 151 total, one better than Wandersheid, who finished with a 76 for a 152 total.
Keating and Wandersheid, of Goldendale, were paired together with Friday Harbor’s Kendra Meeker and King’s Hannah Roh in the final group. Keating and Wandersheid had played together before in youth golf tournaments across the Northwest and both represented Washington in the 2013 Girls Junior America’s Cup tournament in New Mexico.
“It was pretty nerve wracking,” Keating said of Thursday’s round. “I could feel my heart going fast, so I tried to keep my nerves down. I had a song in my head — “We Own It” by Wiz Khalifa and 2 Chainz — to keep myself away from what was going on around me. I was just focusing on my own game, my own shots. I tuned out everyone’s routines.
“I’ve played with Bree a couple of times; I like playing with her,” Keating added. “She’s really sweet. She’s very competitive, but that brings more of the competitive side out of me. When I play with her, I feel like I need to bring a little bit more than what I’m giving. I really enjoyed playing with Bree, Hannah and Kendra. They are all really nice girls and they all played really well.”
The turning point came in the 12th and 13th holes for Keating. A bad lie after her tee shot on the 12th turned into a scrambling up-and-down bogey out of the woods. This put Keating three strokes back of Wandersteid with six holes to play.
On the 13th hole, Keating noted that she found her swing again on her approach to the green, which led to a birdie to get one stroke closer to the lead.
“I definitely needed to keep going,” Keating added. “That (bogey on 12th) made me want to keep going harder. I knew I was still in it and had a chance. Whatever the outcome, I would be happy if I kept trying my hardest. I knew I was still close and still had a lot of golf yet to play.”
Wandersheid bogied the 14th and 17th holes to bring the match to a one-hole showdown. Wandersheid’s approach shot caught a limb from a tree next to the green, while Keating hit a knocked-down wedge to 12 feet of the pin, according to Elma head coach — and Lauryn’s father — Mark Keating.
“That shot put the pressure on Bree, who had to get up and down off the green,” Mark Keating added. “I’m really proud of her. This is a valuable lesson in that it isn’t over until it is over.”
Lauryn Keating two-putted for par on the 18th to win the tournament and didn’t initially realize she won. She thought she set herself up for a one-hole playoff.
“I didn’t even know I won,” she said. “I totally lost track. I was just focusing on my own game, I didn’t realize it even though everyone was hugging and celebrating. Then, I knew.”
For Sand, Thursday’s final round had some pressure for him, but not enough to derail his walk to the state title.
After shooting a two-over 38 on the front nine, Sand turned around and shot a three-under 33 on the back nine to win the state 1A boys individual title with a second-day one-under 71 and a two-day total of even-par 144.
“He got into a bogey streak, then caught fire,” HHS head coach Larry Dublanko said. “This is a great round of golf, credit goes to the Sand family. They’ve worked so hard with him and have put a lot of energy to get John to where he is today. He blew everyone away, a freshman winning the state title. He played an amazing round of golf under pressure and never lost his focus.”
Sand was down by one stroke to Woodland’s Ryan Sturdivan after the front nine. Sturdivan was playing one group ahead of Sand, who was outdistancing his two playing partners — Zillah’s Derrick Phelps and King’s Way Christian’s Clayton Rajewich.
Phelps, who shared the first-round lead with Sand at 73 on Wednesday, shot a second-day 80 to finish in eighth place. Rajewich started the day one stroke behind Phelps and Sand and shot an 87 to finished tied for 21st.
Sand took over the lead by taking advantage of Lake Spanaway’s par-5s — reaching the 10th and 13th holes in two strokes for two-putt birdies. He also birdied the 14th hole and finished the round with four straight pars for the win.
Dublanko noted Sand’s work for the season, as well as the work at Hoquiam High School and the community, for keeping the golf program around. Community contributions kept the program running over the last couple of seasons.
“We almost didn’t have a program, but now here we are a couple of years later with a state champion,” Dublanko said. “That’s a wonderful credit to Hoquim, the community and the high school.”
At Chambers Bay Golf Course in University Place, Aberdeen’s Eric Hagen shot a second-day 85 to finish with a two-day total of 168, good for a three-way tie for 25th place at the state 2A boys golf tournament on Thursday.
Hagen had a rough time on the course, according to AHS head coach Harley Revel.
“There were a lot of ups and downs; nothing went right,” Revel said. “It was one of those days. He showed a lot of character. A lot of kids would have put their heads down, but he kept plugging away.”
Through the first seven holes, Hagen was 10-over for his round. One shot on the third hole capsulized his luck on the day. Hitting onto the green, the ball spun a foot away from the hole and kept going through the green and the sand trap to setting in a divot.
Despite the bad start, Hagen rallied to go just three-over, with four birdies, in the final 11 holes for his 85.
“Those were his worst two rounds in the last three months,” Revel added. “He’s been practicing a lot (after qualifying in November). He’s been playing tournaments in California and working hard. It was just a tough day.”
Hagen started the day tied for 22nd place and was the only Bobcat golfer to qualify for the tournament.
At Oakbrook Golf Course in Lakewood, Willapa Valley’s Nicholas Betrozoff started the day with a chance at the state title, but fell off the pace during the state 2B/1B boys golf tournament on Thursday.
Betrozoff finished tied for sixth with a second-day 87 for a two-day total of 167. The Viking sophomore started the day in third, two strokes behind LaConner’s Brendan McLeod, who finished second overall to the state champion Sawyer Spackman, of St. George’s.
Spackman edged out McLeod with a second-day 78 for a tournament-winning 161 two-day total.