Young Quast adds ace to list of highlights

For having only played golf 21/2 years, Jake Quast has enjoyed his share of highlights.

One of them came a month ago when the Cascade Christian High freshman played in the final group during the Class 3A/2A/1A District 6 championships at Rogue Valley Country Club.

His playing partners were heavyweights Dylan Wu of St. Mary's, who shot a 66 that day en route to the district title, and Kevin Murphy of Rogue River, who would win the state championship a week later.

Another exciting moment happened Sunday, when the 15-year-old made his first hole-in-one during a nine-hole round with his father, Jerry, at Centennial Golf Club.

For someone who recently hung up his baseball cleats for golf spikes, the highs appear to be outweighing the lows.

Quast, who also plays point guard in basketball for the Challengers, turned to golf because "it's just something I could play the rest of my life. I wouldn't really play any other sports after high school. Some friends talked me into playing, and I had a lot of fun playing for Cascade Christian."

He's invested himself in the game, taking lessons from his father and a couple of local teaching professionals and signing on for a slew of Oregon Golf Association junior tournaments. He'll play nine this summer, including seven two-day events.

One of them is today and Sunday at Centennial, where a full field of players from around the state will compete.

It was because of this weekend's event that the Quasts, who live in Ashland, were at the course for a tune-up round Sunday.

Young Quast stepped up to the No. 6 tee, armed himself with an 8-iron for the 167-yard shot and let it fly.

"I hit a little baby draw in there and hit it pretty good," said Jake. "I didn't know it was in the hole until I got up to the green."

Jerry, who hasn't had an ace in his 35 years of play, looked on.

"He looks back at me and says, 'Dad, did that go in?'" said Jerry. "I said, 'My eyes aren't that good, but I think it did.'"

Jerry pulled out the range finder he uses to determine yardages and didn't see the ball on the green. Jake, unwilling to believe it was in the hole, thought it might have gone over the green.

He didn't join his father in the golf cart to drive up and find out.

"He ran down there with his club in hand," said Jerry. Upon finding the ball in the hole, Dad added, "He didn't know what to feel. He was feeling weird and strange and surprised."

And excited, said Jake.

It was the highlight of what would be a good round, a 37 that included a double bogey, bogey and six pars.

Jake experienced a different emotion a month earlier at the high school district tournament.

Playing alongside Wu and Murphy was "pretty nerve-racking for the first couple holes," he said. "They're great players and it was a fun experience playing with them and seeing why they're so good. They're just good players and their hard work shows."

Quast shot an 81 that day, including a 38 on the front nine. He didn't advance to state, but he did give an indication that is something that could very well happen down the road.

"He's a scrappy little kid who likes competition," said his father.

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AMONG THOSE SCHEDULED to play in the Centennial Junior this weekend is Gigi Stoll.

The sophomore-to-be at Beaverton High qualified for the most prestigious of women's tournaments, the U.S. Women's Open, by winning a sectional qualifier in California. Stoll shot a 36-hole total of 2-under-par 142 at Half Moon Bay Golf Links. She had rounds of 75 in the morning and 5-under 67 in the afternoon.

The Open is July 5-8 at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wis.

The sectional came just a week after the freshman captured the Class 6A state title by a whopping 10 shots over West Salem's Ashlee Pickerell at Trysting Tree Golf Club in Corvallis.

Pickerell, a senior who will compete for Tennessee in college, has had success of her own at Centennial. In 2007, the then-13-year-old established the first women's course record with a 69 in the OGA's first tournament there.

The record is now 65. Elisabeth Bernabe, of Anaheim Hills, Calif., lowered the standard in 2010 during an annual American Junior Golf Association tournament. She shot it from the men's tees in the junior-amateur.

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FOR A FIRST-YEAR EVENT, the Ethan Jostad Foundation Golf Tournament was extremely successful, attracting 160 players and requiring morning and afternoon flights at Eagle Point Golf Course last weekend.

Ethan was an Eagle Point boy who lost a two-year battle with cancer last August. Many of the golfers who played aren't regular tourney-goers, but they were in full support of the cause to further cancer research.

"When they say Ethan's Army, they mean it," said Patrick Oropallo, the course's head professional.

The winning team was Justin Dunkin, Rob King, Jeff Bettman and Miguel Castro. It shot a 15-under 57.

The team of Brandon Crosier, Lindsey Stockton, Darrell Thompson and John Boem was second at 59.

"If you had asked me going into the tournament what a good score for us would be, I would have said 60," said Dunkin, whose 4 handicap was the lowest on his team, which was sponsored by Opus Broadcasting. "I don't think we could shoot 57 again. It was one of those days where everything was just clicking."

In the afternoon session, they started on the second hole — with a green bordered by water on the left and bunkers on the right. Dunkin's drive put them 120 yards out on the par 4, and Bettman's approach to 3 feet resulted in birdie.

"I felt like we got one up on the field and it just kind of carried on from there," said Dunkin.

Hearing that 60 was the best morning score, the team's goal was to go 4 under every six holes, a pace that would match the morning low.

They were 5 under through eight holes, then tore it up on the back nine, going 9 under with an eagle and seven birdies.

The eagle was on the par-5 12th. Dunkin's big drive of 340 yards hit a cart path and left them only 120 to the pin. King's iron shot settled 10 feet from the cup.

King also hit one to 21/2 feet on the par-3 15th.

"It was certainly a total team effort," said Dunkin. "Everybody was pitching in here and there and coming through with clutch shots and clutch putts."

Have a local golf story idea? Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479, or email ttrower@mailtribune.com


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