Eagle flies past 5A field

By Paul Lambert / plambert@postregister.com
Hillcrest sophomore Andy Hess blasts out of the bunker on the No. 9 hole at Highland Golf Course during the second round of the Idaho 5A State Golf Championships in Pocatello on Tuesday.

POCATELLO — If you want to know what a college team would do to your home course, send for the Eagle High School boys golf team.

With three NCAA Division-I commits and two more weighing their Pac-12 options, the Eagle Mustangs were in a class by themselves at the Idaho High School 5A State Golf Championships on Monday and Tuesday at Highland Golf Course.

Eagle won the team title by 15 strokes over runner-up Boise, and by 40 over eastern Idaho’s top representative, fourth-place Skyline.

To give you an idea how good Eagle is, the school’s No. 5 golfer, Graysen Huff, won the 5A state individual title in 2013.

“When they’re stacked like that, it’s hard to take them down,” Hillcrest sophomore Andy Hess said. “They have five really solid players, and they’re tough to beat when they’re on their game.”

Hess was on his game more than any eastern Idaho boys golfer early this week, tying Huff for fifth place on the individual leaderboard with a 75-74—149. Hillcrest placed sixth in the team standings with a 640, falling two spots from Monday’s finish.

“We struggled the last day a little bit, and we could have done a lot better,” Hess said., “Overall we did OK and tried our best, and that’s all we can do.”

Skyline led eastern Idaho schools on the boys side with a 635, paced by senior standout, Chase Lincoln who carded a team-best 79-74—153. Lincoln improved his Day 1 score by five strokes, trimming up his game on putting surfaces he had seen just six times before.

“The greens are really an optical illusion, and half the time I was guessing,” Lincoln said. “They like to speed up the greens here and keep them fast, and the wind definitely affected that yesterday.”

The Idaho Falls girls team also posted a fourth-place finish on the hilly Highland layout, led by sophomore Yedin Lui, whose 81-80—161 was good for second on the individual leaderboard.

Atop that leaderboard was Vallivue’s Gabby Barker, whose circus score of 68-70—138 left the rest of the field battling for silver.

Lui’s secret to taming Highland is to keep the ball below the hole for the most part, relying on her short game for consistent scoring.

“It’s a home course, kind of, but I knew more of the greens and how they ran, and that gave us a little bit of advantage,” Lui said. “I didn’t hit a lot of greens, but I made a lot of up and downs and when I hit the greens, I made some putts. In the end I am pretty happy with the score.”

Idaho Falls sophomore Hadley Hersh also cracked the top 10 in sixth place with an 87-81—168.

Rocky Mountain won the girls team title with a stroke count of 689, 24 better than Vallivue’s runner-up total.

Class 4A

The Rigby girls got a fifth-place showing from Rachel Taylor, who carded an 83-77—160 at the Twin Falls Municipal, leading her team to a third-place stroke count of 765. Bishop Kelly won the girls team title by 131 strokes with a 652.

Bonneville’s Tanner Morrrow led all District 6 golfers in the boys 4A competition, posting an 73-78—151. Bonneville finished eighth with a team score of 710, well off the winning pace set by Twin Falls (556).

Class 3A

Shelley’s Keifer Higham finished fourth on the boys side at Clear Lake Country Club in Buhl, carding a 73-78—151 to lead the Russets to a runner-up total of 640. Buhl won the team title with a 607. Snake River was third at 695.

Snake River’s Hannah Murdock finished fourth to lead eastern Idahoans in the girls competition, posting a 95-91—186. Shelley was fifth in the team standings with an 850, 43 back of Marsh Valley’s winning number.