St. Mary’s golfers claim top honors at state
Tuesday marked the last chance for Riley Hammericksen to claim a state championship, and the first opportunity for Brock Drury.
Neither golfer from St. Mary’s High would walk off their respective golf courses unfulfilled.
After placing third to her champion sister Baylee at the last Class 4A/3A/2A/1A girls golf state championships held in 2019, Hammericksen returned to the same Eagle Crest Ridge Course in Redmond and kept it all in the family with a steady showing for a three-shot victory in the two-day event.
Hammericksen used a 74 on Tuesday and 73 in her first round to finish in 3-over-par 147 for the tournament. Runner-up Challin Kim of Valley Catholic, who was tied with Hammericksen after Day 1, scored a second-round 77 to finish at 150.
As an added bonus, the Crusaders girls combined for the team title — a fifth straight if you discount a COVID-induced hiatus for the state tournament in 2020 and 2021. St. Mary’s totaled 694 to edge runner-up Marist by eight strokes.
“It’s a super great feeling,” Hammericksen said of wrapping up her high school career on top. “To not only win it individually but win it as a team, which is what we were going up to do, is super special. I’m just so thankful we got to do it as a team.”
Drury, a junior, considered himself equally as fortunate after fending off Northwestern-bound Ethan Tseng of Oregon Episcopal School for a one-stroke win in the 3A/2A/1A boys golf state championships at Quail Valley Golf Course in Banks.
“Going into the last couple holes, I had made a few bogeys and knew I was pretty close to Ethan score-wise,” said Drury, “but thinking, ‘I have a chance to be a champion,’ felt pretty cool. I just had to finish it.”
Drury was able to par his final two holes while Tseng made a bogey on the 17th hole for what proved to be the deciding factor. Drury finished at even-par 144 for the tournament after posting a 76 on Tuesday following a tourney-best 68 on Monday, and the senior Tseng came in Tuesday with a 74 for a 145 total.
“Brock all year has been a really solid player,” said St. Mary’s boys golf coach Brad Pederson. “He’s mature beyond his years. He’s only a junior but he really is a smart kid with a good head on his shoulders.”
“He’s going against a Division I player in Ethan Tseng,” added the coach, “and Brock played in the same group with him two days in a row and basically was able to beat him head-to-head in a two-day tournament, which is really impressive for a junior to be playing with someone of that caliber.”
With Drury leading the charge, the St. Mary’s boys team wound up second in the team competition to OES, with the Aardvarks posting a 615 team score compared to 629 for the Crusaders.
“Oregon Episcopal has been putting up crazy numbers all year,” said Pederson, “so we knew going into all this they were the team to beat. We knew that was going to be a tough challenge but we were solidly in second place ahead of a good Bandon bunch, and that’s about where we were supposed to be.”
If anyone was where they were supposed to be, it was Hammericksen.
After finishing runner-up to Marist’s Sandhyha Vaikuntam with a cold putter at last week’s district tournament, Hammericksen had high hopes for a strong showing as she bookended her competitive career at Eagle Crest Ridge Course.
Bound for Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida — where she doesn’t plan to play golf — Hammericksen was determined to do her best to help St. Mary’s win a team title, as her sister Baylee had done in winning individual titles in 2018 and 2019.
Monday’s round proved to be an up-and-down battle and Hammericksen knew she had little wiggle room on Day 2.
“Challin is one of the steadiest players I’ve ever seen, nothing really goes awry or goes wrong,” said Hammericksen of the first-round co-leader. “She knows her game so well and her short game is phenomenal so going into today I knew she wasn’t going to make too many mistakes so I was like, ‘OK, I’ve got to up my game.’”
The 18-year-old standout was 1 over at the turn after one birdie and two bogeys, then truly felt like the state title was within her grasp when she was finally able to drain a long birdie putt on the 13th hole.
“I was struggling with my putting a little bit,” said Hammericksen, “but overall I was just trying to play calm and not think too much ahead and just stay in the moment and try to make something happen.
“That long birdie putt on the par-3 gave me energy because none of the putts were really dropping today until that 13th hole. After that it was, ‘OK, let’s do this, let’s finish.’ That just let me know I can make it through this.”
While she was busy fending off Kim, Hammericksen’s teammates at St. Mary’s were similarly holding down the fort to lock down the team crown.
Brigit O’Connell, a junior, finished four strokes better than a day before with an 80 to finish seventh overall at 164, while sophomore Chelsea Horn placed 10th with a two-day 180 and junior Lucy Maxwell tied for 22nd at 203.
“It was really cool all of the girls kind of came together and we made something happen,” said Hammericksen. “We wanted it really bad, so I think all of the girls were working during this tournament to make it happen. We had a lot of determination.”
For the St. Mary’s boys, freshman Josh Moran capped his first tournament experience with a second 79 to finish tied for ninth overall at 158.
The Crusaders endured a slight setback when No. 3 scorer Tiger Kao, a sophomore, was disqualified after signing an incorrect scorecard due to a discrepancy on the 14th hole of what would’ve been a 79 on Tuesday. Kao and his scoring marker from Bandon had the same score for the hole but Pederson said it was later determined that each had been incorrect in their scoring.
“It was just unfortunate and wasn’t an intentional or misleading thing at all,” said Pederson, “they just scored the hole wrong. Tiger felt awful for his team — he’s such an incredible talent for a sophomore — but the result didn’t change our team result and it just provided a learning experience for everyone moving forward.”
Sophomore Owen Bernard and junior Elliot Zimmer were more than capable of keeping the Crusaders toward the top of the standings, with Bernard ultimately placing 16th (166) with a scoring 80 on Tuesday after finishing one stroke outside the top St. Mary’s foursome on Monday. Zimmer finished 17th at 167 with an 82 on Tuesday.
“Everyone played really solid,” said Drury. “Owen shooting 80 today was big and huge for him. Hopefully with all of us back next year, we’ll just build up from here.”
Class 3A/2A/1A Boys
TEAM SCORES: Oregon Episcopal School 310-305—615, St. Mary’s 312-317—629, Bandon 327-347—674, Catlin Gabel 351-342—693, Brookings-Harbor 362-346—708, Riverdale 393-375—768, Regis 389-381—770, Taft 408-411—819, Blanchet Catholic 424-410—834, Heppner/Ione 443-464—907, Grant Union 464-459—923, Vale 492-459—951.
INDIVIDUAL RESULTS (Top 5): 1, Brock Drury, St. Mary’s, 68-76—144; 2, Ethan Tseng, Oregon Episcopal, 71-74—145; 3, Lucas Vanderlip, Brookings-Harbor, 74-73—147; 4, Harrison Bell, Catlin Gabel, 77-72—149; 5, Anders Nielsen, Riverdale, 76-75—151.
Other Local Results
ST. MARY’S (629): 1, Brock Drury, 68-76—144; T9, Josh Moran, 79-79—148; 16, Owen Bernard, 86-80—166; 17, Elliot Zimmer, 85-82—167; Tiger Kao, 80-DQ.
Class 4A/3A/2A/1A Girls
TEAM SCORES: St. Mary’s 338-356—694, Marist 351-351—702, Valley Catholic 387-407—794, Marshfield 401-407—808, Dufur 421-422—843, La Grande 425-420—845, Banks 429-440—869, Baker/Powder Valley 430-474—904.
INDIVIDUAL RESULTS (Top 5): 1, Riley Hammericksen, St. Mary’s, 73-74—147; 2, Challin Kim, Valley Catholic, 73-77—150; 3, Tora Timinsky, Dufur, 77-74—151; T4, Ava Austria, Catlin Gabel, 77-79—156, and Esha Reddy, Marist, 83-73—156.
Other Local Results
ST. MARY’S (694): 1, Riley Hammericksen, 73-74—147; 7, Brigit O’Connell, 84-80—164; 10, Chelsea Horn, 86-94—180; T22, Lucy Maxwell, 95-108—203.
Reach sports editor Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, email@example.com or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry