Olympia High School senior Riley Killip says he’s going to focus more on the golf course and less on who is chasing him on the final day of the Class 4A state boys golf championships.
Killip grabbed the lead on Tuesday at Liberty Lake Golf Course near Spokane, opening with a 4-under-par 66, aided by a back-nine eagle and three more birdies to finish the day.
But he has some big names right behind him.
Joe Highsmith, the top-ranked junior golfer in Washington from Bellarmine Prep, is one stroke behind after shooting a 67. So is Gonzaga Prep’s Jack Plaster.
Never miss a local story.
Two shots off the lead is Bellarmine Prep’s RJ Manke, last year’s state runner-up, who advanced through U.S. Open local qualifying in Gig Harbor two weeks ago.
And, don’t forget defending 4A champion Carl Underwood, of Richland, who sits tied for 10th.
“I feel pretty comfortable with where I am,” said Killip, a Sonoma State signee. “It’s my last time around, so I’m just trying to have some fun.”
Killip made his move on the par-5 12th hole, reaching the green from 270 yards out with a 3-wood, and sinking a 3-foot putt for eagle.
He bogeyed the next two holes, but birdied Nos. 16, 17 and 18 to finish off his 66 — his best round ever at the state championships.
“When it comes to an all-around game, he’s got it,” Olympia coach Skip Fabritus said. “He’s got every shot, and his short game is amazing.”
If Killip holds on Wednesday, it would be the best finish of his high school career.
He took eighth last year at Meadow Springs Country Club in Richland, and tied for 15th as a sophomore at Creek at Qualchan Golf Course in Spokane.
Killip’s teammate, Olympia sophomore Cameron McCauley, sits in sixth after an opening-round 69. He tied for 29th last season.
Fabritus said McCauley’s ability to drive down the middle and putt well is what has him contending with top players.
“He played really consistent today, and that’s what he needs to do,” Fabritus said. “He doesn’t get himself in a lot of trouble.”
Close by at MadowWood, Olympia’s Claire Moon is just three shots back in the 4A girls tournament. She shot a 1-over-par 73 in the opening round.
Cassie Kim of Davis is the leader at 2-under-par 70.
Capital has three golfers in the top 25 after the first round of the boys tournament at Columbia Point in Richland.
Ryan Feyrer (1-under-par 71) is in eighth, trailing Stanwood’s Quinton Borseth and Redmond’s Connor Golembeski, who are tied for the lead, by three shots.
Gabe Barnes (74) is tied for 18th and Travis Bossio (75) is tied for 23rd.
Shelton’s Tim Nail and North Thurston’s Gunner Nielsen are in a group tied for 35th at 77.
Dylan Christoffer, a Tumwater senior, is tied for third at Creek at Qualchan in Spokane.
He and Sammamish’s Aiden Thain both shot a 2-over-par 74 in the first round. Othello’s Patrick Azevedo and Liberty’s Chase McIntosh are the leaders at 73.
Tumwater’s Jordan Baird and W.F. West’s Will Alexander are in a group tied for 25th at 81, and Tumwater’s Chase Fisk (82) is tied for 31st. River Ridge’s Quincy Brawley (84) is tied for 40th.
In 2A girls, Mckenna Canty of Black Hills is in 16th after shooting a 14-over-par 86 in the opening round at Indian Canyon. Black Hills’ Elle Hirotaka (95) is tied for 35th.