Stocked with three seniors and four veterans of last year's State 4A golf tournament, the Wood River High School boys' golf team took aim on a state team championship Monday during the first day of the two-day meet in northern Idaho.
The 4A boys and girls competed Monday and Tuesday at Twin Lakes Village Golf Course in Rathdrum north of Coeur d'Alene. The first 18-hole round was Monday, and the final 18-hole round was Tuesday.
Coach Bill Petzke's Wolverines carried their battle with Twin Falls to the Panhandle.
Twin Falls, the 2005 and 2007 State 5A champion, placed second to Highland of Pocatello in last year's large-school boys' tournament in Pocatello and dropped down to the 4A Great Basin Conference in 2010.
All spring, the Bruins battled head-to-head with Wood River, the reigning Great Basin boys' champ. Last Thursday at Rupert Country Club, Twin Falls (302 strokes) made away with the GBC crown by 14 strokes over Wood River (316) in the six-team field.
A sparkling season-low 67 by Brennon Lancaster, the only returning player from last year's Bruins state runner-up squad, made most of the difference since the Wolverines had three players crack 80 and likely would have been very close, if not for Lancaster's excellence Thursday.
Tying for third in the individual medalist race was Wood River senior Jonathan Hobbs with 76. Hobbs does particularly well at conference championships, his tournament-best 74 last May sparking Wood River to its first regional title.
Also cracking 80 at Thursday's GBC tournament were Hailey senior Crockett Stearns 79 and junior Davis Hague 79. Senior Chance McCroskey carded 82 and sophomore Sage Sauerbrey shot 95 for WRHS.
There was a new State 4A boys' champion crowned Tuesday because Moscow's Chris Williams wasn't around any more. Williams won by 11 strokes last May to capture his fourth straight state golf title. He led Moscow to a five-stroke victory over State 4A runner-up Wood River in 2009 at Jefferson Hills in Rigby.
Meanwhile, Twin Falls (326) had all five girls shoot 86 or better Thursday at Rupert to dominate the four-team GBC race by 142 strokes over second-place Burley (468). The Bruins had won three straight State 5A golf titles and eight in 10 years before coming down to 4A.
Three golfers from last year's state championship team returned to spearhead Twin Falls, paced by individual medalist Katherine Reed (76).
Wood River's Jennie Williams had an outstanding 90 for seventh place out of 23 GBC girls, but only the top four made it to state. It was a personal-best round for Williams. Other Wolverines were Maddie Kate Currie 119, Kelly Chapman 130 and Nicole Gillette 150.
Wood River's boys had a rough day Monday at Twin Falls, shooting 337 to fall into fifth behind Bishop Kelly of Boise (314), Moscow (318), Middleton (320) and Twin Falls (323) in the team standings.
Hague tied for fifth in individual results with a 79 and Stearns was ninth with 81. McCroskey carded 84, Hobbs 93 and Charlie Evans 96. Taylor Schmidt of Bishop Kelly had the best boys' score at 69.
Moscow led the girls' race 341-345 over Middleton as Cali Hipp of Middleton shot 73.