RICHLAND - Three league matches under her belt with two to go...and all signs are pointing to a return trip to the WIAA 3A State Girls Golf Tournament for Sunnyside's Renae Visser.
The junior, who actually attends Sunnyside Christian High School but is a member of the Sunnyside High Lady Grizzly golf squad because her school doesn't field a golf team, turned in another splashy round yesterday.
Competing at the third of five Columbia Basin Big Nine league matches scheduled for this spring, Visser posted the sixth lowest individual round Wednesday at Richland's Horn Rapids Golf Course from among a field that totaled 15 schools.
The 85 she posted yesterday on the target, desert-style Richland course was Visser's personal best 18-hole round.
The key to shooting her career low, said Sunnyside Coach Gary Rohde, was Visser's ability to keep her ball on the short grass and out of the desert, sandy stretches of wasteland that line each of the fairways.
"Renae only used her driver twice yesterday," he said of Visser's tee shots. "That kept her ball in play all day long."
Visser ended up touring the par-72 Horn Rapids course with a front nine 42, upping her score ever so slightly to a 43 after the clubhouse turn.
It was a five-hole, even-par stretch yesterday, the sixth through the 10th holes, that got Visser on track to claim another Top 10 finish at a 4A/3A league match. She opened that run with three consecutive pars, absorbed a bogey on the front nine, closing ninth, then regrouped to open the back side with a tweeter on No. 10, a par-4 affair that had been shortened to just 267 yards.
Intent on keeping her ball in play, she teed off on No. 10 with a 5-iron, leaving her approach shot about 130 yards from the green. From there she lofted her ball to within tap-in range for the easy birdie.
Rohde said Visser has all the physical tools to score well, now it's about learning to overcome the mental aspects of the game.
"Yesterday we talked about not letting one bad shot bother her...to come right back and concentrate on hitting a good shot.
"She did that very well for the most part yesterday," he said.
Visser's round of 85 on Wednesday actually tied her with Richland's Kate Stephens for the sixth low individual score. The two girls who finished just ahead of Visser and Stephens in fourth and fifth place, with an 83 and 84, respectively, hail from Richland and Davis high schools. Another Richland golfer, Mary McDonald, and a Wenatchee linkster tied for runner-up honors with 9-over-par 81's.
Wednesday's medalist, who's turning out to be the class of the CBBN, was Kristin Strankman of Richland. She shot an even-par 72 (36-36).
In terms of the three 3A schools competing at yesterday's league match, the other 12 squads being from 4A schools, Visser's 85 was one shot better than that of Hanford's Taylor Godoy (86). Another Falcon, Kelsey Aiello, closed with an 87.
The other 3A school at the league match, West Valley, was paced by Anna Elofson, who notched a 95.
Visser was the lone Lady Grizzly to compete yesterday. The one other member of the Sunnyside team, Sarah Swinehart, elected not to compete at the league match.
Sunnyside's girls are scheduled to compete at a non-league competition at their local Black Rock Creek Golf Course today (Thursday) against Grandview, before returning to league play on Monday, April 26, at Walla Walla's Veterans Golf Course.