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Grizzly linksters close out league play with best finish of year

WENATCHEE - A true team effort by the Sunnyside High School boys golf team led the Grizzly linksters to their best finish of the season, that coming in the final Columbia Basin Big Nine League match of the year.

Playing yesterday at the short 5,378-yard, par-69 Three Lakes Golf Course in Wenatchee, Sunnyside pieced together a 12th place finish from among the 15-school field. The teams from Davis, Chiawana and Eisenhower high schools brought up the rear in 13th through 15th place, respectively.

The Walla Walla Blue Devils, paced by the 1-over-par 70 carded by Drew Reinland, who earned medalist honors Tuesday, finished in first with an aggregate team score of 297. Southridge was three strokes back at 300 for runner-up honors in the league match.

Sunnyside's 367 team total was comprised of individual rounds ranging from an 88 to a 99.

"I believe that's the first time this season all four of our individual scores were under 100," said an obviously pleased SHS Coach Gary Rohde.

Leading the charge for the Grizzlies was Chandler Luther. The underclassman had one of three birdies on the day for Sunnyside. He knocked down the tweeter on the par-4, 267-yard 15th hole. Luther ended up with the lowest nine-hole score for Sunnyside, shooting a 6-over-par 40 on Three Lakes' back side. His front nine 48 gave him a team-low, 18-hole round of 88.

Grizzly teammates Nathan Espinoza and Nick Navarro each finished two shots back of Luther with rounds of 90. Both of the golfers had front nine 46's and identical 44's on the final nine holes of play.

Espinoza's round featured a birdie on No. 9, one of only two par-5 holes the Wenatchee course offers.

Rhode said Espinoza's ball ended up just short of the green following his second shot on the 484-yard ninth hole. "From there Nathan chipped his ball to within six to eight feet of the cup, then got the putt to drop for the birdie," said Rohde.

Navarro's 90 on front and back nine scores of 46-44 was a workman-like effort, said Rohde. "He took nothing higher than a seven on any of the holes. It was a nice, consistent day for him," Rohde said.

Nathan Meyer rounded out the team scoring for Sunnyside with a 99. He had a 47 on the par-35 front side, but despite picking up a bird on the par-4, 15th, Meyer stumbled a bit on the back nine and absorbed a 52.

"Nathan's birdie came on the first hole he played yesterday," said Rohde, "So he was 1-under for the day. It kind of went downhill a bit from there, though," Rohde quipped.

The SHS boys golf team will get in one more competition before postseason play begins, that scheduled for Monday, May 3, at the Southridge Invitational to be played at Kennewick's Canyon Lakes Golf Course.

The one-day 3A Regional tourney will follow on Friday, May 14, at Spokane's Wandermere Golf Course. The lone Grizzly linkster who's qualified for the postseason tourney is Espinoza. He accumulated enough individual points in the CBBN league competitions this season, 11th most, to earn one of the 12 individual berths to Regionals.

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