EPHRATA - It's been three years in the making, but now Grandview High School senior Josh Jardine is ready to reap the rewards from all his hard work on the links.
The left-handed swinging golfer turned in the fifth best round at the CWAC District tourney yesterday, earning himself a trip to the 2A State golf tournament.
Jardine, as a junior, came within a single stroke at District last year of qualifying for State. This time around, however, the GHS senior left little doubt that he truly belongs golfing with the state's elite.
Competing at Ephrata's par-71 Lakeview Golf Course Thursday afternoon, Jardine opened with a middle of the pack 43 on the front nine. He got his game firing on all cylinders after the clubhouse turn, though, scorching the back side with a 39.
His overall 18-hole score of 82 was only bested by four golfers from the 10 schools competing.
The low individual round at District was turned in by Andrew Whalen of the host Ephrata Tigers. Taking advantage of playing on his home course, Whalen easily bested the field with an even-par 71.
The next closest finishers to Whalen were Othello's Dylan Johns and Wade French of Prosser, who carded 8-over-par 79's. Next in was Tyler Jensen of East Valley with an 81, with Jardine and Jared Kummer of Othello on his heels with a pair of 82's.
The top 14 finishers at District earned the trip to the 2A State tourney, to be staged at Yakima's Apple Tree Golf Resort next Tuesday and Wednesday.
The cut line at the CWAC District tourney to get to State turned out to be an 86.
Top team honors yesterday at District went to both Othello and Prosser, each of whom tallied a 332. The host Tigers were just three strokes back at 335.
Grandview's four golfers managed a team score of 431, ninth best from the 10-school field. Toppenish brought up the rear with an aggregate 480.
Besides the 82 carded by Jardine, the Greyhounds got a 98 from Ryan Contreras, and a 114 and 137 from freshmen Cameron Dillon and Dylan Parker, respectively.
Contreras went 49-49 on the front and back sides.
Dillon's 114 (62-52) was within a single stroke of his personal best 18-hole score. He could have gone lower, considering he absorbed a 13 on hole No. 11 after trying to beat his ball out away from a tree instead of taking an unplayable lie and accepting a single penalty stroke.
Parker's round of 137 featured a 67 on the front nine and a 70 after the clubhouse turn.
Jardine's round at District got off to a shaky start, as he doubled the opening hole.
The key to Jardine righting the ship, according to GHS Coach Dave Uggetti, was figuring out that with the wind howling yesterday on the fairly snug course, laden with OB markers, it was prudent to leave his driver in the bag on many of his tee shots.
"It's kind of a tight course at Ephrata," said Uggetti, "Especially when the wind is blowing, and it was blowing pretty good yesterday.
"For Josh, basically it was just a matter of him getting some confidence going. And, he did as he worked his way around the course."
It didn't hurt any, either, that Jardine knocked down three big birds on the back side yesterday. He claimed the birdies on two of the par-5 holes, 11 and 18, with the other coming on the par-3, 15th.
In looking ahead to the 2A State tourney next week, Uggetti says Apple Tree, which features a forgiving, fairly wide open track, suits Jardine pretty well.
"He's been there several times and likes it. Usually he plays it pretty well," said Uggetti.
The last two years the number needed to make it past day one at State has been an 81.
"Josh is definitely capable of making the cut line if it stays around an 81 again this year. He's gone lower than that there before," said Uggetti.