KENNEWICK - Although she's new to the game of golf, Sarasa Partida more than held her own yesterday at the 3A Columbia Basin/Greater Spokane Regional girls golf tournament, staged at Kennewick's Canyon Lakes Golf Course.
Partida, a Sunnyside High School sophomore who just took up golf this spring, was the lone Lady Grizzly linkster to qualify for Regionals. Diminutive in size but a natural athlete who apparently relishes rising to a challenge, Partida survived the morning cut Monday and advanced to yesterday's 18-hole final for a chance to earn one of the Region's 12 berths to State.
In the end, Partida came up short, finishing 11 shots back of the 12th and final finalist for the State tourney. But, the SHS sophomore showed she might be a force with which to be reckoned, if she chooses to stick with the game.
At the start of the spring season Partida was penciled in to return to the SHS girls fastpitch softball team. However, a minor injury prevented her from turning out for the rigorous sport, so she switched gears and took up the game of golf to fill her afternoons.
Come next spring, SHS Coach Gary Rohde is hoping Partida feels the tug of the golf links, not the softball diamonds.
"If she sticks with it, Sarasa could be a pretty good golfer," Rohde said. "She's one of those kids who has a natural athletic talent."
Yesterday's Regional tournament featured the 28 best golfers from the Columbia Basin League and the top 12 from the Greater Spokane League. All played a morning 18-hole round, with an eye on advancing to the afternoon finals.
Partida finished at 108 in the a.m., on front and back nines of 56-52. That was one below the cut line to move on to Monday afternoon's finals.
The Sunnyside golfer went on to shoot another 108 in the Regional finals, carding a 52 on the front side and a 56 after the turn.
"She had a couple of pars here and there," said Rohde. "A real strong, consistent round for Sarasa."
Partida's 36-hole total of 216 came up just 11 shots short of advancing to State. It was Hilary Suzs of Mt. Spokane who grabbed the 12th and final berth to State, shooting a 205 (102-103).
Monday's medalist proved to be West Valley's Jenna Boyle. She led the Rams to the team title at Regionals by carding rounds of 98-86. Two other West Valley golfers also qualified for State.
Eastmont, behind Joslyn Seabrook's 191 (97-94) and Whitney Welch's 193 (96-97), finished second in the team standings at Regionals.