Sustained winds of 30 miles per hour almost blew them away, but Wood River High School golfers were in the same boat as all other Gem State athletes Tuesday—navigating the choppy waters of state golf tournaments in eastern Idaho.
And when the dust settled, Wood River put up its best-ever state tournament team finish. The Wolverines of Bill Petzke and Chet Olson finished second in the 2009 State 4A boys' tournament at windswept Jefferson Hills Golf Course in Rigby.
Wood River was in third place behind Moscow and two-time defending state champion Pocatello after Monday's first 18 holes. But the Wolverines (652 strokes) improved their lot Tuesday and hung on to finish five strokes behind State 4A champion Moscow (647).
Team scores in the state golf tournament are tabulated by adding together the best 18-hole scores of the top four of a team's five entries. For instance, Moscow led the way Monday with 303, Pocatello had 314 and Wood River 315.
But Tuesday was different.
The windy weather raised scores of the better golfers from the 70s into the mid- to upper-80s. Still, in the terrible conditions, Wood River managed to post the best team score Tuesday with a 337, four strokes ahead of host team Rigby and seven better than Moscow.
Coaches Petzke and Olson were very pleased with the way the Wolverines, with their roster of four juniors and one sophomore, responded to the adversity and showed how the game of golf should be played.
They probably would have won the state championship if not for the excellence of Moscow senior Chris Williams. He nailed down his fourth consecutive 4A individual boys' title by a whopping 11 strokes over Ryan Pearson, of Pocatello.
Williams led the way with a 69 Monday, and he came back with a tournament-best 77 Tuesday for a 36-hole total of 146, 11 strokes ahead of Pearson (74-83 for 157) and 12 strokes better than third-place Wood River junior Crockett Stearns (73-85 for 158). Only Rigby's Brian Panter (78) came close to Williams on Tuesday.
If Williams had come back to the field with a score in the low 80s Tuesday, Great Basin Conference team king Wood River would have rallied for the title.
Here are Wood River's state scores other than those of Stearns: Sophomore Davis Hague 79-85 for 164, junior Chance McCroskey 83-82 for 165, junior Danny Sundali 86-85 for 172, and junior Jonathan Hobbs 80-93 for 173.
Tying for third place in the boys' standings were Pocatello and Bishop Kelly of Boise, each with 665 strokes, 13 behind Wood River. Bishop Kelly then captured the third-place trophy in a one-hole playoff.
In the State 4A girls' competition, Hillcrest of Idaho Falls senior Olivia Weber made up seven strokes in the final six windy holes Tuesday and won her third 4A individual girls' title with a 77-83 for 160. She won by a single stroke over Bishop Kelly's Katie Skinner (77-84).
Wood River senior Aimee Evans was one of only 12 golfers in the 33-golfer State 4A girls' field to break 100 in Tuesday's winds. Evans improved by 10 strokes over her Monday tour and finished the tournament 104-94 for 198.
Other WRHS 36-hole scores were Jennie Williams 98-107 for 205, Ashley Hesteness 116-118 for 234 and Karlie Jeneson 123-117 for 240. Bailey Ireland shot 115 Monday, and Kelly Chapman carded a 125 Tuesday.
Middleton's Viking girls (709) won their first state championship by 26 strokes over Hillcrest (735). Four-time defending girls' champion Bishop Kelly was third (782), and Wood River eighth (869) in its first-ever state girls' trip.