Athletic directors at the Class 5A level have proven to be the most invested in controlling their own playoff destiny since a switch to the...
Dylan Wu was motivated for a reason common to big brothers: He didn't want his little brother to beat him.
When the St. Mary's senior learned that with nine holes to play, he and his brother Josh, a sophomore, were deadlocked for the lead in the Class 3A/2A/1A boys golf state championships at Trysting Tree Golf Club on Tuesday, it was a call to action.
"I was, OK, you have to shoot 2 or 3 under (par) and you're good," said Dylan Wu. "I was like, if I lose to my brother, I'm gonna get so much crap at school tomorrow, so don't lose."
Wu won his second consecutive championship, pulling away on the back nine for a 1-under-par 71 as others around him either faltered or didn't make a charge.
Wu is the first repeat champion at the small-school level in nine years and only the fifth since 1969, when multiple classifications began.
In the process, he helped the Crusaders to another runaway a victory, their fourth straight to match the state record for consecutive titles.
St. Mary's shot a 299 team score on the second and final day, giving it a 590 overall score and a 23-shot margin over runner-up and crosstown rival Cascade Christian. For the second year in a row, the Crusaders set tournament records for 18- and 36-hole scores. They crafted a 291 on Monday.
The victory matched the consecutive title streak of Medford in 1982 and Taft in 1987.
"It's a testament to these kids," said St. Mary's coach Ryan Allred. "They enjoy playing golf together. Like I've said before, I wish I could take more credit as the coach, but they're self-motivated and driven kids. They really enjoy playing together and that makes my job easy."
Josh Wu ended up third, bogeying the final three holes for a 76. His 147 was one shot behind runner-up Walter Sherry of Catlin Gabel.
Jeremy Wu, Josh's twin, shot a 74 and placed sixth at 149. The fourth counting score was a 78 by senior Tom Thorndike, who was tied ninth at 152.
Cascade Christian improved nine shots over its first-day score with a 302 and 613 total. It was 33 strokes better than third-place Catlin Gabel.
The Challengers' Max Davis turned in the best round of Day 2, a 70, and tied for fourth place with teammate Jake Quast, who shot 74. They totaled 148. Cascade Christian's Ben Quast tied for ninth at 151 with a 77.
The two Medford schools accounted for seven of the top nine players, and Allred admitted he was rooting for a 1-2-3 Wu finish.
Dylan Wu said he wasn't overwhelmed by expectations.
"It's a little hard to repeat," he said, "but this year I was kind of expected to. I didn't really think about it, just play my own game and let everything fall into place."
He was comfortable as he made the turn tied for the lead.
"I wasn't really playing bad, I just wasn't scoring super well," said Wu. "My distance control on this course was out of whack."
After a calm day on Monday, players contended with a noticeable breeze Tuesday.
Wu was even when he started the second nine and picked up birdies at the 11th and 14th holes. He made a 4-footer at the 11th and hammered a 20-footer at No. 14 that hit the back of the cup, bounced up and dropped.
Unbeknownst to him, brother Josh lost a shot over the same stretch and was three back with four to play.
Dylan Wu lost a stroke on No. 16 despite having only 80 yards in on the 405-yard hole, but he steadied himself and parred out.
On the 18th, he pulled his drive left and nearly went into a water hazard, then hit his approach 50 feet past the hole. He was left with a downhill, 6-footer for par.
"I thought I had to two-putt to win," he said. "I thought Josh was 1 over, but nobody was telling me anything on the 18th hole."
For a time, Ben Quast got himself into the mix. He birdied three of the first six holes to get to 1 under for the tournament and only one stroke behind the leading Wus at that stage. But he double bogeyed the seventh and tripled the ninth to fall back.
It could be a challenge for St. Mary's to win a fifth straight title next year.
The Crusaders lose Dylan Wu and Thorndike, while Cascade Christian returns all of its players. Jake Quast is a junior, Davis a sophomore, Ben Quast a freshman and No. 4 player Michael Clark, who tied for 23rd, a junior.
But St. Mary's will deal with that next season.
"Four is a great accomplishment," said Allred. "There are a lot of factors that go into that. Getting guys to play really good golf over four years is a pretty cool accomplishment."
TEAM SCORES (Top 5) — St. Mary's 291-299—590, Cascade Christian 311-302—613, Catlin Gabel 327-319—646, Oakridge 333-330—663, Oregon Episcopal 335-332—667.
INDIVIDUAL SCORES (Top 5) — 1, Dylan Wu, St. Mary's, 71-71—142; 2, Walter Sherry, Catlin Gabel, 74-72—146; 3, Josh Wu, St. Mary's, 71-76—147; 4, (tie) Max Davis, Cascade Christian, 78-70—148, and Jake Quast, Cascade Christian, 74-74—148.
ST. MARY'S (1st, 590) — 1, Dylan Wu, 71-71—142; 3, Josh Wu, 71-76—147; 6, Jeremy Wu, 75-74—149; T9, Tom Thorndike, 78-78—152.
CASCADE CHRISTIAN (2nd, 613) — T4, Max Davis, 78-70—148; T4, Jake Quast, 74-74—148; T7, Ben Quast, 74-77—151; T23, Michael Clark, 85-81—166.
Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479, or email email@example.com