OLYMPIA — Months removed from the day he punched his ticket to state back in the fall, Centralia golfer Von Wasson didn’t miss a step on the first day out on the green at Capital City Golf Course in Olympia Tuesday on the first day of the 2A State Golf Championships, finishing the day with the top score by two strokes.
The sophomore shot a 69 Tuesday, with Sehome’s Wes Bothel, White River’s Zach Miller, and Sequim’s Ben Sweet all tied for second with a 71. The tournament’s top seed and District 4 counterpart Dane Huddleston from Woodland shot a 75 and is tied for ninth overall.
“He was fabulous,” Centralia coach Hal Gronseth said. “He played well, I know he's had a lot of time off, but he’s a golfer. He’s played a lot of golf. He’s intense and he’s confident, he believes he can go win this thing tomorrow. It’s gonna be a lot of fun watching him do that.”
Brother Cole Wasson also made the final cut with a first day score of 79, tied for 23rd. Seeded in the 11th group by average, Cole Wasson finished 10 strokes back of his brother in first. Cole was right on par with Von for most of the way through the first half of the course, but had a tough 13th, hitting it out of bounds twice to fall behind what was once a top-5 pace.
“It took the wind out of his sails a bit,” Gronseth said. “He was disappointed and frustrated after doing that, but he will come back and play well tomorrow and finish well. They’re golfers. They love to play golf, they play golf consistently, they work hard at the game. They’re in different spots but they’re both excited about being able to compete at this level.”
Von Wasson will golf again tomorrow in the very last group looking to hold on to first place at 9:52 a.m., while Cole Wasson golfs in one of the middle groups at 8:48 a.m. looking to move up the board.
W.F. West’s pair of participants, Ben Halverstadt and Tukker Rosbach, did not make the cut for the final day. Halverstadt, seeded in the sixth group, shot an 89, finishing tied for 63rd overall. Rosbach was one of the lowest seeds, and shot an 84, tied for 46th and just one stroke back of the cutoff.
“It’s always tough for our boys with league in the fall and then trying to put their game together in the spring to compete,” Bearcats coach Matt Klovdahl said. “I think fatigue played a role in how they played, not getting a lot of match time in the spring, it takes a toll.”
Competing over at the Tumwater Valley Golf Course, Natalie Eklund just barely made the cut for the second day of state championship action, scoring a 96, which is tied for 30th. The cutoff to advance to the second day was exactly half of the total participants, which is made up of 60 golfers. Fellow Bearcat Grace Oien shot a 102, which tied for 44th, not enough to advance.
“Natalie had a couple of tough holes but otherwise played well,” Klovdahl said. “If she eliminates a couple of those things, she shoots right where she wants to. Looking forward to seeing her have another opportunity tomorrow and eliminate those mistakes. She's a better golfer than what she showed today.”
Tumwater’s Lily McCauley had the third best average coming into the championships and finished tied for second after shooting a 70 on the day. White River’s Brooke Gelinas stood alone in first, one stroke ahead of McCauley.
McCauley will tee off at 9:20 a.m. Wednesday hoping to place for the Thunderbirds at her home course while Eklund looks to climb the ladder, teeing off at 7:40 a.m..
Over at Deer Park Golf Club in Spokane in the 1B/2B Boys Golf State Championships, Adna’s Braeden Salme made the cut for the final day of golf, shooting an 85, which is tied for 16th.
After a tough first three holes, where the sophomore was shooting plus-six, he settled down and played as good of golf as his coach and father Luke Salme has seen from him.
“He played really well,” Luke Salme said. “He struggled early, some nerves got the best of him. He was frustrated as could be after three but he settled in. He’s a consistent player and stays even-keeled. He really did that well once he got going.”
Teammate Andrew Grim missed the cutoff by two strokes, shooting a 94 which tied for 38th. Golfers needed to finish in the top 30 to advance to the second day. Grim ran into the same trouble Salme did, but settled in and got close to the cutoff late.
“He can hit the ball so far, he gave himself a chance, just had a couple shots get away from him late,” Luke Salme said. “We knew it was going to be close, He’s bummed but only a junior and already excited to come back next year.”
Kalama’s Todd Tabor, who won the District 4 title, is currently in third after shooting a 75 on the first day Tuesday. Orcas Island’s Burly Hildreth is in sole possession of first, scoring a 72.
Salme will tee off for the final day of golf Wednesday at 8:20 a.m.