Talk about a team effort, the Sunnyside High School boys golf team could have provided an instructional video yesterday.
Firing on all cylinders, the Grizzly linksters defeated both West Valley and Ellensburg to move their Mid-Valley League record to 4-1 on the season. Sunnyside tallied a 315 team score, edging the Rams by six strokes and clipping the Bulldogs by 10.
Although it took a true team effort to score the two conference victories at Sunnyside's Black Rock Creek Golf Course, the hero of the day might have been Zack Hathaway.
Golfing in the No. 5 spot for the Grizzlies, Hathaway was still out on the course when Sunnyside's top four golfers were sitting in the clubhouse comparing scorecards. Because of an uncharacteristic blow-up by Ryan Webster, who finished with a 98, the Sunnyside squad knew Hathaway had to post a score below 90 to have a shot at earning a sweep.
"We were all waiting at the clubhouse," said Sunnyside Coach Glenn Braman. "We all knew Zach had to be in the mid-80's for us to get the win.
"It was a bit nerve wracking," he said.
When Hathaway finished his round and made his way to his teammates, they quickly learned he had come through big. The 84 on his scorecard was well below what he needed to shoot to get the Grizzlies the team victory.
Hathaway might have gotten an early clue that Thursday was going to be his day. On the par-4 fourth hole, after lacing his drive to within 115 yards of the green, he knocked his approach shot out-of-bounds. Taking a penalty stroke and a drop, Hathaway swung again from 115 yards out. This time, the ball flew straight, and miraculously, he holed the shot to save par.
Heroics aside, Sunnyside couldn't have defeated perenially tough West Valley without some superb play from its other team members. And no one came through bigger than junior Kevin Lick, who shared medalist honors on the day with the Rams' Bobby Elder. Both golfers carded even-par 72's.
Lick parred every hole on the front side, and birdied two after the turn to negate his lone blow-up on the back nine-a double bogey. He needed a bird on the finishing 18th to tie Elder for medalist honors, which he got by reaching the green in two and one-putting.
"Another super round by Kevin," said Braman. "It seems like he's always there in the low 70's for us."
Sunnyside senior Chris Trammel also picked a great time to shoot his first sub-80 round of the season. The easy-going, free swinging Trammel turned in a workman-like four-over 40 on the first nine holes of play. He lowered his score to a 39 on the back side.
"Chris's 79, that's the first time he's been under 80 for us this year," said Braman. "I'm real happy with how Chris is playing.
"The more relaxed he is, the better he hits the ball.
"Every kid is different out there, but the key for Chris is staying relaxed," said Braman. "He came up big for us."
Sunnyside's No. 2 golfer, junior Andrew Schutt, didn't exactly get off to one of his better starts yesterday. Schutt ran into trouble early on and couldn't right the ship, finishing the front nine with a seven-over 43.
"When I saw Andrew out there, he was noticeably upset," said Braman. "He was mentally beating himself up, and he let it snowball a little bit."
The gutsy linkster recovered admirably, though, touring the back side of Black Rock with a one-over 37. Birdies on 14 and 17 helped turn Schutt's game around, giving him a respectable 80 for the day.
Webster's 98 (43-55) and a 104 by Jeramie Drollinger weren't applied towards Sunnyside's team score. Only the four best individual scores are used for team play.
The Grizzly golfers were scheduled to leave at 10 a.m. this morning to compete at the Pendleton Invitational. Sunnyside will then close out regular season play on Thursday, May 13, at the Yakima Elks course against Wapato and Selah.