MISSION — Despite no golfers with stroke counts in the double digits, the Hermiston Bulldog girls’ golf team walked away from the Wildhorse Invitational at the Wildhorse Golf Course in Mission with the first-place trophy in hand on Monday.
Exemplifying a game of inches, the Dawgs beat fellow Columbia River Conference school The Dalles Wahtonka by a single stroke 435-436 to take home the title. Janci Spoo and Laikyn Carnes led Hermiston with scores of 100 and 101, but Spoo said it was the team’s No. 3 girl Madison Welch that saved the day for the Dawgs. Welch was right there with a 105.
Emily Cyphers of the Eagle Indians shot a 98 to finish in third, Pendleton’s Whitney Bahrns came in second with a 95, but all the girls were chasing Emily Bumgart of DeSales. She shot an 87.
Bahrns’ day got off to a rocky start before she flashed her second-place caliber clubs for the Bucks. She was finishing holes in six or seven strokes on the first part of the course but tried to remain calm. By the last few holes, Bahrns was on a run behind her putting and chipping. The final three holes of her round all came up par.
Ending a round on a flurry of solid strokes is great, Bahrns said, but it’s also disappointing that there aren’t more holes to play.
“It kind of is; I turned around and got three pars and then it was just like, “Oh,’ ” Bahrns said about ended up at the clubhouse. “Man, I was doing good at the end.”
Pendleton took third out of three full teams.
The home stretch at Wildhorse wasn’t so kind to some on the boys’ side of the competition.
Pendleton’s Pyper McCallum was having a career round, shooting a 4-under, 68 through 17 holes. But he left the last one short, forcing a bogie on No. 18.
McCallum shot a 69, matching his winning score from the team’s last tournament round at the Hermiston Invite on March 21. That came on a par-70 course while Monday’s was on a par-72.
“I’ve just been hitting the ball really good, and not getting mad when I hit bad shots,” McCallum said. “There was quite a few of them (Monday) that I felt like I hit really bad, but you just got to forget them.”
The sophomore’s score bought him a third-place medal individually, but the backside of the Pendleton lineup was dragging on the day. Outside of Walker Hoolehan’s 75, the Bucks struggled at times and shot a 335 to end in sixth place.
Pendleton’s stroke count was one more than Hermiston’s, which saw all of its varsity starting five shoot in the 80s. Neither could compete with Hanford of Richland, Wash., which shot a 302 with its top four all in the 70-stroke region.
The Dawgs’ No. 1 Keegan Crafton had a look at the 70s but stumbled on the final hole as well. An eight-stroke No. 18 in which he landed one ball out of bounds and another in the water sunk his high hopes.
“I was playing so good and I just let it go,” Crafton said, trying to forget the 4-over hole. “I could have had an amazing score. I guess it’s just how the game works sometimes.”
Mac-Hi’s Ryan Bullock shot an 83 to lead the Pioneers, but the team finished in eighth place out of eight boys’ teams.
Nick Mandell of Southridge in Kennewick, Wash., won the tournament with a 65, seven strokes under par.