Whalen leads first-place Tigers at 22-school boys golf invitational

Blaine, Selah linksters card low individual rounds


Adam Fleming of Grandview eyes the line to the pin on the 14th green at Monday's 22-school invite at Black Rock Creek Golf Course. Fleming finished play with a round of 133 (64-69). His one and only par on the day came on the par-4, fifth hole.

Team-wise, the Ephrata Tigers - behind Aaron Whalen's 2-over-par 74 - bested the 22-school field yesterday at the annual Grandview Golf Invitational.

Exactly 100 prep golfers showed up at Sunnyside's Black Rock Creek Golf Course Monday morning. The boys were greeted with sunny skies overhead, scant whiffs of a breeze and a fast-paced track that not only rewarded tee shots finding the fairway, but smooth, luscious greens that when read correctly the ball rolled true to form.

From an individual standpoint, the duo of Blaine's Ryan Wallen and Selah's Derek Wood posted the low scores of the day. Two of nine golfers to card sub-80 rounds, Wallen and Wood each made their way into the clubhouse with even-par 72's.

Of the four schools that call Black Rock Creek their home course, Sunnyside's Grizzlies netted the best team finish. Behind rounds of 85, 86 and 88 by Chan Luther, Ian Heffron and Nathan Meyer, respectively, the SHS squad garnered an 8th-place finish in the team standings. One spot back, tied for ninth with Blaine High School, were the Prosser Mustangs - who got a team-low round of 83 from Taylor Gant. The host Grandview Greyhounds, with all of their linksters recording triple-digit rounds, settled for 20th-place team honors. The one other school that calls Black Rock Creek home - Mabton - had just one golfer on the course yesterday, which relegated the Vikings to the final spot in the 22-school standings.

In claiming the invite team title, Ephrata finished nine strokes lower than the runner-up East Valley Red Devils, who were led by the 1-over-par 73 round chalked up by Andrew Raab.

The East Valley ace went 36-37, picking up birdies on the par-5 third and sixth holes and another on No. 10 - a short, dogleg left par-4 set-up that has the creek for which the course is named rolling through it. The Red Devils also got a round of 78 from Chad Cameron, whose lone bird came on the par-4, opening hole.

Ephrata's individual scores ranged from Whalen's 74 to a pair of 82's. In shooting a 2-over 74, Whalen toured the front nine with an even-par 36. The two bogies he absorbed on holes 2 and 5 were negated by tweeters on the par-4, fourth and the par-5, sixth. Whalen was unable to post any red numbers on the back side, settling for seven pars and bogies on the par-4, 11th and the par-3, 17th.

Wallen, the Blaine High School standout, wasn't flashy in putting up his even-par 72 yesterday. But, he was steady as a rock throughout. He carded front and back side 36's, knocking down three birdies along the way while sustaining hiccups with bogies on holes 6, 9 and 17. Wallen parred the other 12 holes.

Selah's Wood, in shooting his even-par 72, lit up the front nine with a 3-under 33. The Viking linkster closed out the final five holes on the front by snaring birdies on three of them. Wood didn't find the going so smooth after making the turn, as he opened the back side with a bogey on No. 10, following that up with a double on the par-4, dogleg right 11th. The Selah prepster got the wheels reattached to the cart down the home stretch, however, finishing with seven consecutive pars for a back side 39.

The other golfers who posted sub-80 rounds at yesterday's invite included Nathan Nulliner of Naches (38-37 - 75), Trevor Salsbury of Othello (37-38 - 75), Derrick Phelps of Zillah (39-39 - 78) and Joel Ford of Selah (41-38 - 79).


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