It’s all mental to Madisen Bentley.
Bentley, a senior at Life Christian Academy, said her goal coming into this year’s Class 1A golf tournament was to shoot par 72 — or better yet, 1 under — in the opening round.
That’s exactly what she did Tuesday at Lake Spanaway Golf Course. But getting to that 71 was no easy task.
“It was a lot of work,” Bentley said. “I had five birdies and four bogies, so I’m proud of myself for making as many putts as I did.”
Bentley, who finished fourth in the 2012 tournament and will play next year at Portland State University, said that she is a different golfer than she was a year ago.
“It’s really been a mental thing,” she said. “I have had to have the right thoughts and preparation.
“You just have to have the mindset that you can birdie any hole on the course, and you can win anything.”
Life Christian coach Don Gustafson said Bentley’s perseverance is paying off.
“Between last year and this year, she has really improved,” he said. “She has worked hard on her game and spends a lot of time practicing.”
Bentley golfed alongside defending state champion Bree Wanderscheid, a junior from
Goldendale, and Lauryn Keating, a sophomore from Elma. Her Eagles are the defending team champions.
Wanderscheid finished the round at 2-over 74, but pointed out that she was tied for first at the end of the first round last year, and pulled out the win.
“I had great distance control today, but my aiming was off,” she said. “If I can get my aiming on, then I’ll be fine.”
Wanderscheid admitted that this year, the stakes are higher.
“There’s a lot more pressure than if I didn’t have the title,” she said.
Keating, who placed third in 2012, said she ran into some unexpected struggles and shot a 76 in the first round. She is Elma’s lone girls golfer at state.
“The first two holes on each nine were a little difficult for me to fully show what I can do,” she said. “But I’m going to go work on it right now on the range and get it all figured out.”
In the boys competition, Ilwaco senior Ross Kukula also led with a 1-under 71. He placed third in last weekend’s Puget Sound Amateur with a 143.
Behind him were Blaine senior Ryan Wallen (73) and Seattle Christian freshman Luke Doss (74).
Rochester’s Deric Hawes shot an opening 80 and is tied for 20th going into Wednesday’s final round.
The second round begins at 7 a.m. with the girls teeing off first; the boys will start around 9 a.m.
4A, 3A, 2A GIRLS
Tumwater’s Monroe eighth: Tumwater junior Kayla Monroe shot an opening-round 86 at The Classic in Spanaway and sits in eighth place at the Class 2A girls state tournament. Capital advanced three of its five golfers to Wednesday’s final round: Naomi Yamamoto (13th, 92), Alison Kweciak (21st, 96) and Kelsey Wilder (30th, 101). … North Thurston’s Audrey Marlatt is tied for 28th after shooting at 92 at the 3A state tournament at Lewis River in Woodland. She will play Wednesday’s final round. … Olympia’s Melanie Pedigo shot an 88 and is in a seven-way tie for 27th place at the 4A state meet at Club Green Meadows in Vancouver.
Calkins leads 2A: W.F. West senior Brady Calkins shot an opening-round 2-under-par 70 and is atop the leaderboard at the Class 2A state tournament at Chambers Bay, one shot ahead of Ephrata’s Aaron Whalen (71). He’s one of three Bearcats to advance to Wednesday’s final, joining teammates Jacob Botten (15th, 81) and Saint Martin’s signee Jared Rasmussen (25th, 83). Other 2A Evergreen Conference players to advance to Wednesday’s final are Capital’s Joel Christopher (15th, 81), Black Hills’ Jake Shier (34th, 85) and Centralia’s Tucker Voetberg (37th, 86).
4A, 3A: Olympia junior Brendan McCauley is in a five-way tie for seventh after a 1-over-par 73, one of two Bears golfers to advance to Wednesday’s final round at Camas Meadows in Southwest Washington. Teammate Nolan Blackman sits in 30th place (79). There is a five-way tie atop the leaderboard at 2-under 70 between Lynnwood’s Rudy Capraras, Bellarmine Prep’s Greg Gildea, Camas’ Brian Humphreys, Union’s Eddie Abellar and Eastlake’s Li Wang. … In 3A, Shelton teammates Zach Lund and Mitchell DeAndre each shot 80 to tie for 29th at Tri-Mountain in Ridgefield. 3A Narrows League champion, Alec Martinson, shot an 82 and failed to make the cut.