Two days after setting a season-low score at the Cowapa district tournament, the Seaside boys golf team shot a season-high in the state preview tournament May 1 at Emerald Valley Golf Course in Creswell.
Marist continues to be the favorite to win the 4A state title, as the Spartans again topped the Gulls by 20 strokes.
Marist won the tournament with a 328 team score, with Seaside a distant second at 348. Valley Catholic was third (353), followed by Woodburn (360) and Oregon Episcopal (365). Eight other schools took part.
The Spartans put up a number that should have given the Seagulls a chance, but the Gulls had a day to be forgotten, said Seaside coach Jim Poetsch, on the tough Emerald Valley course.
“This should be a good learning experience for us,” he said. “First, we learned that the course needs to be carefully played to score well. Carson (Kawasoe) did that today and Samson (Sibony) did on the front nine.
“On this course you can score on the front nine, then you battle to hold on on the back. We started on the back today and I think it just crushed some kids spirits by the time they got to the front. Not just our kids, but the field in general.”
In addition, Poetsch said, “we also learned that Marist can be beat. Take away Curtis (Kunde) shooting 12 strokes over his average, Connor (Merrell) losing 12 strokes to lost balls, and four of our guys shooting their worst score of the year, and we should win this tournament.
“Fortunately, this was a preview and not the real thing. Hopefully we qualify next week (at regionals) then we can come back for some revenge on this course.”
Kawasoe finished second individually with a 76, including a one-under-par on the second nine. Sibony had a 39 on the second nine for an 86, followed by Kunde (90), while Merrell and Mason Shamion both shot 96. Marist’s Nick Watts edged Kawasoe by one stroke for medalist honors.
Gulls win league title
The big tournaments are next week and the week after, but in the meantime, the Seaside boys golf team warmed up by winning another Cowapa League championship.
As expected, it wasn’t even close, as the Gulls carded a 307 team score April 29 at the Astoria Golf & Country Club, 47 strokes ahead of second-place Valley Catholic (354).
Astoria was third with a 365, followed by Banks (406) and Tillamook (419).
Seaside will also be the heavy favorite next in the regional championships, when the Cowapa League schools and several other teams gather May 6-7 at Quail Valley Golf Course, for state qualifying.
The state tournament is May 13-14 at Emerald Valley Golf Course in Creswell, where the Gulls will compete in a one-day state preview tournament Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Seaside sophomore Curtis Kunde earned medalist honors for Monday’s Cowapa League championship, as he finished with a 73 to edge freshman teammate Carson Kawasoe (75).
The Gulls started the day slowly, going six-over-par on the first hole. Kunde recorded Seaside’s only birdie on the front nine, and was the only Gull below 40.
On the back side, however, the Gulls turned it on.
Kunde, Kawasoe and Connor Merrell combined for 10 birdies on the back nine, and together scored one-under-par. Along with Samson Sibony’s steady round, the Gulls pulled away from the rest of the field.
Seaside senior Connor Merrell was third with a 76, Sibony finished fifth with an 83 and senior Mason Shamion placed ninth with a 91, as all five Gulls made the all-league team.
“I think we played well today and showed that we can compete at state,” Kunde said.
Ryoma Lane and Henry Lo of Valley Catholic and Connor Long, Josh Olson and Jacob Ficken of Astoria joined the Seaside five on the all-league team.
“Today was a pretty impressive show by our team,” said Seaside coach Jim Poetsch. “Curtis, Carson and Connor combined to have four more birdies than the rest of the field combined. A couple of errant drives kept Samson from joining those three in the 70’s.”
Shamion “wasn’t happy with his score today, but he had 14 of the 18 holes with five or less,” Poetsch said. “If he gets those other four holes there, he ends up with a pretty good score. As it was, all five shot well enough to earn all-league honors, for which I am really happy for them, especially my seniors.”