The location may be the same, but scoring averages in the sequel figure to be much higher across the board.
At last year’s Mid-Willamette Conference boys district tournament, the area’s top golfers took advantage of extra roll from the firm fairways to post a slew of low scores at Trysting Tree Golf Club.
What a difference a year makes.
A drizzly late spring has rendered the course unusually soggy for mid-May, leaving players with longer approach shots to the greens and fewer holeable birdie putts.
“I played a practice round (Saturday) with my teammates and I was getting backspin on my drives,” said Crescent Valley High sophomore Kevin Geniza. “It’s soft out there.”
The two-day, 36-hole tournament begins Monday and concludes Tuesday in Corvallis.
Last year, Geniza shot an 8-under 69-67—136 to finish second behind West Albany’s Conner Kumpula, who won with a district-record 13-under 65-66—131. Kumpula now plays at Oregon State.
“The biggest factor was just how dry the fairways were and how the ball would roll out,” Geniza said. “You could turn No. 16 from having 150 (yards) in to having less than 100 in because of how the ball would roll out. It just made the course so much easier.”
It’s safe to assume Kumpula’s record-breaking performance at the 6,674-yard, par-72 course is out of reach, but there are still plenty of birdies left for the taking.
The forecast calls for sunny skies and temperatures in the 80s for both rounds. The greens are also receptive.
“I really like Trysting,” said West Albany senior Chace Daskalos, who finished in a tie for fifth at 7-over a season ago. “It is open and it kind of favors the long-ball hitter who is a little erratic.”
The Bulldogs, who wrapped up the regular-season title two weeks ago, have already qualified for the 5A state tournament.
Crescent Valley, Corvallis, Woodburn and Lebanon are all in the picture for the conference’s second team bid to the state tournament, which will be held May 19-20 at Quail Valley Golf Course in Banks. The top-five individual performers also qualify.
“With us having won the regular-season championship in our league, districts kind of take on a different meaning,” West coach Matt Boase said. “You always want to play well in a league match, but it’s a little bit different and it’s not going to be the same pressure. Hopefully we are going to be able to focus more on our individual games and the little things we need to apply to state, as opposed to going out there to grind out a score.”
Today’s lead group will tee off at 8 a.m. and be comprised of Geniza, Daskalos, Lebanon’s Josh Goins and Woodburn’s Julian Kuznetsov.
The MWC district tournament returns to Trysting Tree for the first time since 2012. Quail Valley hosted the 2013 edition.
Corvallis, the regular-season champion, punched its ticket to state with a win at Oak Knoll Golf Course in Independence on April 23.
Crescent Valley and West Albany will battle to be the conference’s second representative in the state tournament, which runs May 19-20 at Emerald Valley Golf Club in Creswell.
West consistently held the second spot in most conference tournaments, but Boase said the Bulldogs have not penciled themselves into the state bracket just yet.
“Not every team had a full squad for every league match, and I’m pretty sure for districts every team in our league will have enough girls,” Boase said. “That changes the dynamics a little bit because you can’t count anybody out.”
The Raiders were one of those teams, and they will have a full lineup at districts.
The individual race appears wide-open with West’s Kate Hibbs and CV’s Adrienne Johnson leading the way.
Hibbs won the regular-season tournament at Trysting with an 89.
The tournament, which is also a two-day, 36-hole event, is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Monday.