The weather was hot, but Seaside’s Carson Kawasoe was hotter on the golf course last week.
A junior-to-be and three-sport athlete with the Gulls, Kawasoe scored a major win in his best sport, when he won the annual Bob Allard Memorial Golf Classic, July 27 and July 28 at Rose City Golf Course in Portland.
Competing in the age 14-18 boys open division, Kawasoe shot a four-under par 140 to win by just one stroke over Cole Rueck, who shot a three-under par in the final round July 28. There were 60 golfers in the division, with top age group golfers from around the state.
Kawasoe shot a 74 in the first round on July 27, highlighted by an eagle on the 10th hole.
But it was Rueck who was atop the leaderboard after the first round with a 70, followed by Nicholas Nautiyal (71), two golfers with a 72, and two others at 73.
So Kawasoe had his work cut out for him on July 28’s second round.
“I was tied for seventh, but I told the guys in my group, ‘you know guys, I’m just going to go win it.’ And I kept it going.”
And Kawasoe answered the challenge by scorching the course in Round 2, with birdies on three of the first five holes. Kawasoe birdied No. 8 and finished the front nine with a 32. He recorded his second eagle on the 11th hole, on his way to a 34 on the back nine, for a six-under par 66.
Kawasoe said Rueck “played really solid. He bogeyed (holes) three, six and nine. I had one bogey on the day and the putter got pretty hot on the front.”
Still, Kawasoe was not following the leaderboard very closely.
“I actually wasn’t,” he said. “Two of the kids I was playing with knew one of the dads in the last group, and we passed each other when I was on 18, and they were on 16. I had a two-shot lead with five to play, and everyone seemed to know except for me.
“Right after I tapped in on 18, they said, ‘I think you just won it.’”
Kawasoe knew most of the other golfers in the tournament. Rueck will be a junior at 5A Corvallis this year.
“They were mostly from Portland and Vancouver,” he said. “Everyone congratulated me, and they were all really cool about it.
“It was definitely the biggest win I’ve had,” he added. “I got myself over the hump. I started pretty slow this summer, just trying to get back in the groove. After the first round, I told my dad (Astoria Golf & Country Club golf pro John Kawasoe), ‘I think that might have got me over the hump.’”
As for the Gulls, Seaside will be one of the favorites to win a 4A state title next spring — or whenever high school boys golf returns to the course. The Gulls would have been one of the favorites last spring, with all of their golfers returning this year.
“It was a bummer to have it canceled, but I was glad to have some tournaments this summer,” Kawasoe said. “Luckily I’m young, so I get a couple more seasons. Curtis (Kunde) will be our only senior this year.”
The champion from each division of the Allard Memorial will receive an invitation to the Tournament of Major Champions, Sept. 12 at Illahe Hills Country Club in Salem, and Charlotte’s Tournament of Champions, Sept. 26 at Creekside Golf Club in Salem.