T-Birds’ Nickerson contending for golf title

2a/1a state golf: Seth Nickerson of Tumwater among leaders at 2A boys tourney; Elma’s Keating eyes 1A crown

Contributing writerMay 23, 2012 

Despite poor weather conditions Tuesday, Tumwater’s Seth Nickerson is two shots off the lead going into today’s final round of the 2A state golf tournament at The Classic Golf Club in Spanaway.

“I played all right,” said Nickerson, who shot a 5-over-par 77. “I just made one bad swing. Other than that, I played pretty well. I didn’t putt great at all, so I left a lot of shots out there on the greens. But, overall, I hit it pretty well.

“I haven’t been able to practice that much,” he added. “I’ve been working quite a bit trying to save up for college next year and my knee is not feeling the greatest. So all things considered, it wasn’t too bad.”

Even with the defending 2A champ Ryan Wallen of Blaine and reigning Washington State Golf Association junior boys player of the year Andrew Whalen of Ephrata in the field, it was Port Angeles’ Joe Barnes atop the leaderboard with a 3 over 75.

Wallen is tied with Nickerson at 77, and Whalen is one shot behind at 78.

Nickerson said having Whalen and others in the tournament makes it a tough field.

“He (Whalen) actually played better than I did today,” the future Pacific Lutheran golfer said. “Unfortunately, he had a two-stroke penalty, but this is a competitive division and if you can be anywhere near the top with all these kids, I mean, there is just so many good players. It feels good to look up at the leaderboard and to see you’re in contention.”

Whalen received a two-stroke penalty, and said the wet weather was the reason.

“I got penalized for moving water off of the green,” said the Northwestern University-bound Whalen. “Things happen.”

With a mixture of heavy rain and drizzle throughout the day, the course conditions weren’t the best.

“It was pretty tough,” Whalen said. “The greens aren’t that nice right now with all the water. It was hard to make putts.”

“It was really tough today,” Nickerson added. “It didn’t stop raining and it was completely soaked. The greens started to get a lot of water on them. Everything was against us today, that’s for sure.”

For others, the rain helped the course a little.

“It played easier than last year,” said South Whidbey’s Harrison Price, who shot a 78. “The rain softened it up a little. It was still tough. If you don’t hit the ball straight, you’re going to get stuck in the trees. It’s just tough to get out from there.”

Meanwhile at The Home Course, Elma’s Alexis Keating is in prime position to nab her second state title, this time at 1A.

Keating, who signed with Colorado, shot a 2-over 74, and is tied for the lead with Goldendale’s Bree Wandersheid heading into today’s final round. Keating’s sister, Lauryn, shot an 80, and is tied for third.

Alexis Keating won the 2A title in 2010 at Apple Tree Golf Course in Yakima.

North Thurston’s Oliva Lowe is in the final group at the 2A girls championships at Lake Spanaway Golf Course. She shot a 79 – and sits four strokes back of leader Aleana Groenhout, of Interlake (75).

Tumwater’s Kayla Monroe (95) is tied for 22nd in the 2A girls tournament.

Staff writer Todd Milles contributed to this report

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