ECHO — Whenever a group of Thackers get together, chances are it’ll be at the golf course. For the Hermiston family, golf is less a game and more of an adhesive — a non-optional sport is the way Jon Thacker puts it.
“It’s a good sport for us to come together,” said Jon’s 15-year-old son JD. “When we have family reunions we have a lot of golfers. We go out and play a lot of tournaments.”
It was a veritable Thacker reunion at the award ceremony of the Umatilla-Morrow County Junior Golf Championship on Monday, as three relatives left Echo Hills Golf Course with winnings. JD, Jared and Cody Thacker each placed in the Top 2 for his age group’s gross score.
The eldest of the golfers, JD, shot the best score in the event, which was for players who completed the junior golf summer program with Hermiston Parks and Recreation. His 41, five over par for the 9-hole course, led all other competitors in any age group by 13 strokes.
For JD, the last in the Thacker parade to collect his trophy, Monday’s success was as much the product of his pregame mindset as green-seeking shots and precision putts.
“Before we went out I had a gameplan that I really wanted,” he said. “Instead of taking it as nine holes, I looked at it hole-by-hole ... Take it one hole at a time and take your time, a nice easy tempo.”
Doing so helps him bypass poor hole performances when they occur, though the Hermiston Bulldog varsity player only ran into one at Echo Hills this time.
Behind him in the oldest boys’ group was Jared Thacker’s gross 55. His was one stroke higher than Anders Lind’s 54, but with a four-stroke handicap Lind took the net first-place prize, leaving 13-year-old Jared the gross runner-up.
Tyler Rohrman finished second in net scoring with a 52.
In the 9/12-year-old category, Cody Thacker equaled Jared’s score with a gross of 54. That gave him a nine-stroke cushion above Tyler Hunter, who shot a 63 to finish in second for the gross scoring.
But Cody was just one hole from an even more impressive round before dropping a nine on his scorecard on his last hole of the day.
“Since I started off on Hole 2, when I got on Hole 1, I was doing terrible,” he said, listing off the troublesome shots on the par-5 hole by memory. The one-hole struggle followed a round with a pair of pars that came early in the day and put the golfer miles ahead of the rest of the field.
Rounding out the winners for the 9/12s, James Helmen shot a net-score 55 for first and Garrett Hill’s 61 was good for second place.
In the girls group, Maya Helmen’s 67 gave her the gross win by eight strokes over MacKenzie Miller while Jocilyn Tustin edged Addison Caplinger in the net category 76 to 77.
For the youngest golfers of the tournament, Cody Adams placed first with a gross count of 58. Leyton Lind’s three-stroke handicap bumped the net score to 57, good enough for first in that division.
Contact AJ Mazzolini at email@example.com or 541-966-0839.