LIBERTY LAKE - Goal accomplished, mission achieved! Now, all that's left is putting the icing on the cake.
Sunnyside senior Renae Visser, making her third consecutive appearance at the WIAA 3A State Girls Golf Tournament, has advanced to day-two action. In her two previous trips to State, Visser failed to make it out of the opening 18-hole round.
Yesterday, however, she came in under the cut line by a single stroke and this morning (Wednesday) teed it up for day-two action.
"Our goal this year, all along, was for Renae to get back to State and qualify for the final 18-hole round," said Sunnyside High School Coach Gary Rohde. "Now she's done it."
With that task completed, the pair quickly came up with a new goal for Visser to aim for in today's finals. "The game plan," Rohde said, repeating the question posed him prior to the start of today's round. "The goal is for Renae to be somewhere in the 80's with today's round," he answered.
Based on yesterday's performance by Visser, that might be achievable.
The senior went 46-46 on Liberty Lake's par-70 municipal course. Her 92, just one stroke below the cut line of 93, left her in a tie for 35th place with three other girls. Four other golfers tied with 93's on Tuesday, which made today's finals field 42 girls strong.
In attempting to shave at least three strokes off yesterday's score, to keep her round in the 80's today, Visser is optimistic. Rightfully so, considering four holes yesterday kept her from contending for one of the top trophies to be awarded later today.
"Renae had four bad holes Tuesday that kept her from posting a really strong score," said Rohde. "Mainly it was her iron play on those four holes that let her down."
Instead of focusing on yesterday's negatives, Visser had plenty of positives to take into today's finals.
Rohde said Visser, as she has done for several weeks now, bombed her drives off the blocks in yesterday's opening round at State. She's abandoned her driver and is using a 3-wood for her tee shots. "She was getting the ball out there a lot further than the girls she played with yesterday, and hitting a lot of fairways," he said.
"Renae also chipped and putted fairly well yesterday," Rohde continued, somewhat of a bonus considering at least half of yesterday's round was played in a downpour of rain.
As strong as her overall game was on Tuesday, two holes especially stood out as Visser's highlights on the opening day at State.
On the 448-yard, par-5 eighth hole, the Sunnyside senior stuck her approach shot a couple feet from the pin, setting up a tap-in birdie.
The other highlight came on a par-3 hole, in which she missed the dance floor with her drive. Her ball came to rest on a downward slope, but somehow Visser managed to slide her wedge under the ball, getting it to come to rest just five feet from the cup. From there she glided the ball with her flatstick into the bottom of the hole to save par.
"It was a spectacular up-and-down," said Rohde.
Yesterday's first round leaders at State with identical 1-over-par 71's were Shorewood's Kassie McKinley and Peninsula's Rachel Lewis.
The lowest round on Tuesday posted by a Greater Columbia Big Nine league golfer was a 12-over-par 82, carded by Kelsey Aiello of Hanford.