WEST VALLEY - An apple a day keeps the opponents at bay. Not a bad motto for the West Valley High School boys golf team.
Playing on the course they practice on regularly, the Rams tore up Apple Tree Golf Course yesterday and bested three Mid-Valley League opponents. Amazingly, West Valley posted a sub-300 round at the four-school match, tallying a match low 298 strokes.
Sunnyside, behind senior Kevin Lick's even-par 72, finished third with a team tally of 322.
"Hanford came in with a 301," said Sunnyside Coach Glenn Braman. "That's really low. Think how they felt, shooting a 301 but losing."
Prosser was well off the mark with a 392. Corry Enbretson's 84 was the low individual round for the Mustangs.
In winning Thursday's match, West Valley was led by Bobby Elder, who earned medalist honors with a 3-under 69. The Rams three other individual scores were an even-par 72, a 78 and a 79.
"Pretty amazing that a high school team can have four rounds like that," said Braman.
Hanford, though, posted some pretty impressive numbers, as well. The Falcons got a pair of 74's from Bobby Nelson and Alex Moore, as well as a 75 and 78.
"It's tough to compete against that," said Braman.
But, the one Sunnyside golfer who was up to the challenge was the senior Lick, a three-time qualifier for the 3A State tournament. Lick came in at 2-over on the par-35 front, but whittled his back nine score to a 2-under 35. He collected a birdie on the par-5 15th, thanks to a monster 90-foot putt that found the cup. He had another bird on Apple Tree's signature apple shaped island green, on No. 17, via a putt that rolled about 30 feet and dropped.
"Kevin played a little sporadic on the front side," said Braman. "But he's really been working on his game. He realizes now that it's OK to make a bogey or two, because he's capable of picking up more birdies than he has in past years."
Second in for the Grizzly golfers was senior Andrew Schutt, who carded an 8-over 80 on front and back side scores of 39-41.
"Andrew had a couple of water balls yesterday," Braman said. "You take away those couple of shots that went in the drink, he's right there in the mid-70's.
"Last year he proved he's capable of scoring in the 70's. He's getting there again this year," Braman said of Schutt.
A pair of freshmen rounded out the varsity scoring for the Grizzlies. Justin Bos turned in his best ever competitive round by firing an 81 (40-41), and Tim Taylor carded an 89 (44-45).
Braman said Taylor's score should have been three of four strokes lower, but the freshman left his wedge on the 10th green and had to finish out the back nine without it in his bag.
"Some chips cost him a few strokes," said Braman.
Also competing for Sunnyside yesterday, although their scores weren't applied to the team total, were junior Zach Hathaway (91) and senior Jeremy Drollinger (98).
Sunnyside is scheduled to host West Valley, Selah and Wapato in a four-way match at Black Rock Creek Golf Course next Wednesday. The Grizzlies will entertain Goldendale the following day, with a third straight day of action slated for Friday, April 29, at the Pendleton Country Club Invitational.