Had things gone a little differently Wednesday, Tumwater’s Seth Nickerson might have been the 2A boys state golf champion instead of Clarkston’s Tyler Carlson.
Carlson, though, had it all working. The senior shot a one-under par 71 at The Classic Golf Club in Spanaway for a two-day total of 3-over 147, seven strokes lower than runner-up Ryan Wallen (154), the defending champion from Blaine, and eight better than Nickerson (155).
Nickerson, thought he had his chances but was betrayed by his putting.
“I was in it for a while just grinding it out,” said Nickerson, who was two shots off the lead going into the final round. “I just couldn’t make anything today. It was frustrating. I hit every green on the front and shot 38.
“It’s kind of hard to swallow when you’re hitting the ball so well and not making anything and having a couple of three putts. … It’s frustrating because we were both hitting it well, but he just made the putts and that’s what it always comes down to.”
Besides Nickerson, W.F. West’s Brady Calkins had strong day, finishing with a round of 78 and a 156 total, good for fifth place.
Carlson’s performance almost lifted Clarkston to the team title. Interlake edged the Bantams, 95-94.
“It feels awesome,” the Oregon State-bound Carlson said of his title. “I didn’t play well at regionals and I told myself I was going to win this week. So to accomplish that and to win a state championship as a senior going out, it’s just awesome.”
Carlson had experience on his side, having placed fourth as a freshman, sixth as a sophomore and eighth as a junior. He said about halfway through the round, he got a sense this year might be different.
“I knew on the back nine I had a couple shots lead and I just started making a couple birdies and didn’t falter at all,” Carlson said. “The last couple of holes, I knew that nobody was real close, so I was trying to get around.”
In the girls competition at Lake Spanaway Golf Course, Steilacoom High’s Cherokee Kim went into the final round down four strokes to Interlake’s Aleana Groenhout but shot a 2-over 74 to finish with a two-day total of 9-over 153 – one shot lower than Fife sophomore Kendall Gray (154). Groenhout finished third at 159.
Kim had finished second by one stroke in each of the previous two years at state.
“I really wanted to take first this year,” Kim said. “I just told myself that I had to hit one shot at a time and stay focused, and whatever happens, happens.”
North Thurston’s Olivia Lowe followed up a 79 on the first day with an 86 for a two-day total of 165, good for sixth place. Tumwater’s Kayla Monroe finished 10th (95-84–179).
Bellingham took its 10th state title in the past 11 years, winning convincingly with 152.5 points. Fife was a distant second with 62.5 points, while Burlington-Edison grabbed third with 54 points.