CRESWELL -- For more than 50 years, the state of Oregon has been crowning individual golf state champions.
Count them all up for all divisions, including ties, and there have been more than 100 individual medalists since the inception of the championships in 1951, heading into this year’s tournament.
This morning, Kyra Ly stands alone.
The Cleveland senior fired a second straight seven-under 65 at sun-splashed Emerald Valley in Creswell to win the 6A tournament by a stunning 16 strokes over a star-studded field filled with future collegiate golfers.
Ly’s 65 on Tuesday matched the state scoring record for one round, set by Ellie Slama of South Salem in 2017 and duplicated by Ly herself on Monday. Ly’s two-round total of 14-under-par 130 was three strokes better than Beaverton’s Gigi Stoll, who had set the 36-hole total of 11-under-par back in 2015.
Ly tied her all-time low round on Monday and duplicated it one day later on the biggest stage in high school golf.
It’s been said that golf is a good walk spoiled.
On Tuesday, Ly reaped the spoils of a good walk.
Ly knocked down the flag for a tap-in birdie on the par 4 first hole, birdied the par five third after hitting the green in two and she was off.
“I was feeling pretty confident throughout the whole round today,” Ly said. “Everything was going the way I wanted it today.”
On a course with narrow fairways, treacherous dog legs and hard, fast, demanding greens, Ly made Emerald Valley bend to her will. When the Oregon State recruit wasn’t driving the green on par 4s, she was hitting 270-yard rockets to the middle of the fairway – every time -- then pitching close for kick in birdies. It looked effortless.
On the No. 1 handicap par 4 sixth, a 287-yard dogleg right with a hazard right and a huge tree protecting the corner of the dogleg, Ly hit around the tree and over the trouble, about 20 yards from the green. She chipped to five feet and sank the putt to go three-under for the day. She tacked on another birdie at the par 5 seventh, two putting from the fringe.
Ly’s only “mistake” came on the 255-yard par 4 eighth.
It happened because she’s just too good.
A dogleg right with the pin Tuesday cut in the right corner of the elevated green, Ly decided to go flag hunting from the tee. Her drive sailed over the hole and over the bunker behind the hole, nestling down in some tall grass. She mishit her second shot from a difficult lie into the bunker, then blasted out to 15 feet and two putted for bogey. Ly rebounded to birdie the tough ninth hole, then added birdies on 10 and 13 to improve to six under for the day.
Ly, who was an ice skater and pianist until age 12, when her parents signed her up for a summer golf camp to “get her out of the house;” hit the defining shot of her round on the par 4 15th hole. Using driver from 249 yards away, Ly hit a majestic shot, over the trees and over the bunker guarding the green mouth. The ball landed softly on the elevated green and stopped 18 feet from the hole. It was the second time in as many rounds that she’d hit that green with driver. Two puts later, Ly was in with birdie to improve to seven-under. She had chances to be even better coming in, but missed a short putt for birdie on the 16th, a medium-range putt for birdie on the 17th and she three-putted the par 5 18th for par.
“I’m happy with the way I played today,” Ly understated. I’m glad that I was able to come out here for the last tournament that I will ever be playing as a high school athlete and make a mark.
Junior Helen Brodahl of Ida B. Wells finished second behind Ly. She fired a second consecutive one-over 73 to give the Portland Interscholastic League a surprising 1-2 finish. Sunset freshman Erika Kobayashi finished third, one shot further behind. Westview senior Momo Udom was plus-4 to sit in fourth place overall. Mountainside’s Emily Song tied for fifth at plus-5, along with Anna Poulin of Jesuit and Tualatin’s Maya Promwongsa.
Indeed, take Ly out of the equation and there were eight golfers between plus-2 and plus-9, including West Linn senior Bayler Brundage, who snaked in a long putt from the back fringe for a scintillating eagle on the par 5 third; and Mountainside senior Sofia Fuenmayor, who was under par on Monday but struggled to a 10-over 82 on the tournament’s final day.
Jesuit (Poulin, Beth Milne, Kate Lee, Zoe Park, Quinn Burke, Grace Odegard) won the 6A team championship – its third in a row sandwiching two Covid years – by coming from behind on the final nine holes to stun Mountainside. Jesuit trailed the Mavericks by seven strokes after the first day and by 11 strokes after Tuesday’s front nine, but its four scoring golfers shot 39, 40, 41 and 42 on the back nine to take the back by a whopping 25 strokes to win going away, 649 to 663, a margin of 14 strokes.
After Monday’s first round, Jesuit co-coach Michele Gray said that she expected Jesuit’s depth to be a factor on Tuesday. And it was.
“Our depth carried the day,” she said.
The catalyst in the win was Zoe Park, Jesuit’s No. 4. Park, a senior who’d been on the team since she was a freshman but was playing in her first state championship, fired a back nine 42 while her Mountainside counterpart was shooting 57. That would prove the difference in the team competition between the Metro League rivals.
“We told her she needed to play mentally tough today and she came through,” Gray said. “I saw consistent play. I saw her fighting the whole time and playing every shot with confidence. I saw her acknowledge that she was a good golfer and play like she was a good golfer.”
“Coming off the turn I was a little shaken up because I was 10-over, which was worse than my front nine yesterday,” Park said. “I really wanted to finish strong for my team. I got into the mindset of playing my game and not everyone else’s. That made me successful in playing a good round. It feels great to do it for all of us.”
Gray said that faith in her team never wavered even as Mountainside, the Metro League champions, extended its lead to 11 after nine holes Tuesday.
“Our mantra last night and this morning was ‘play to win,’” she explained. “We wanted to stay mentally tough all the way through. We challenged them to do that and, towards the end, when it started getting close, we kept letting them know that we were in striking distance. They rose to the challenge.”
West Linn, Lake Oswego and Westview rounded out the top five teams. West Linn finished two strokes further back of Mountainside and 15 strokes ahead of fourth-place Lake Oswego, its Three Rivers League rival and the TRL league champions. Westview, another team from the Metro, finished one shot behind LO for fifth.
Girls 5A: Wilsonville, Tomp both hang on
After the first day in 5A, Wilsonville held a commanding 21-stroke edge over Silverton in the team chase, while North Eugene freshman Francie Tomp, after shooting an opening-round 72, led her nearest competitor by a robust six strokes.
One day later, Wilsonville was named state champion for the first time since 2017. And Tomp was the individual medalist.
Neither result was certain, however, at various points of the second round.
Wilsonville saw its huge lead more than halved after the front nine, as the hard, fast greens, combined with nerves, tamed the Wildcats. But Wilsonville, collectively, played much better on the back nine while Silverton faltered. Senior Emma Dougherty shot 48 on the back to finish with a 95. Junior Mia Combs improved by three strokes from her front side to check in with a 101. And Paris Wilhelm overcame a shaky start to finish with a 90. The result was a 21 stroke gain for Wilsonville on the back nine and a 31-stroke overall win.
“It feels really special because last year we had only three girls,” Dougherty said. “We weren’t really able to place. Now it’s unreal that we can come and be one. We were a little nervous halfway through about how we were going to be. I tried to pull myself together. We won. It feels great!”
Combs was having a shaky round before stepping up to the 17th tee and stuffing her shot inside of 10 feet.
“It felt really good,” she said. “I actually was trying to get myself in a better mood before I was doing that I was laughing at myself. I stuck it on the green and got a par.”
Combs added that winning means a lot.
“My freshman year was Covid so we didn’t get a season and last year we only had three people,” she said. “Now that we have a bigger team, we were able to do this. It was amazing.”
Tomp shot 79 on Tuesday but held off hard-charging Mercedes Marriott of Crescent Valley by three strokes for the individual title. Marriott, who started on the 10th hole, shot one-under 35 on her last nine, while Tomp struggled on the back, to make things interesting.
“I’m a little upset because I just did not play very good,” Tomp said. “I won so that’s something.”
Tomp, who led Wilhelm by six after the first day, started off strongly. She made easy pars at 1 and 2 and a short birdie at the par 5 third. Wilhelm, meanwhile, double bogeyed the first and bogeyed her next five holes to fall from contention for medalist honors.
Things got interesting for Tomp after that, with a couple of three putts on the front side among four bogeys that contributed to a three-over 39 at the turn.
Marriott, the pre-tournament favorite, was one worse on the back nine, extending Tomp lead to eight strokes with nine holes to play.
Tomp, who bogeyed 8 and 9, was in danger of adding a third box in a row, but curled in a par putt on 10 to breathe a little easier. She parred the next three holes as well, but things got interesting on 14 when she drove into the water and made triple. Tomp had two more bogeys coming in but birdied the 17th, after stuffing a short iron to within six feet.
“That was extremely important,” she said. ‘It helped bring my mood up.”
Tomp had a chance to finish with back to back birdies, but an indifferent third shot to the par 5 18th, and a short putt miss instead had her finishing with bogey and frustrated despite winning the state championship, her first major.
Asked what she learned today, Tomp was reflective.
“Golf is up and down,” she said. “It’s not consistent. I need to stay calm and battle through. Today was definitely rough. I need to teach myself to stay in control of my emotions.”
After winning state as a freshman, Tomp was asked about the possibility of being a four-time state champion.
“I would love that,” she said. “I want to aim for that. Going all four years would be amazing.”
St. Mary's of Medford won its fifth consecutive title by holding off a challenge from Marist Catholic in the 4A/3A/2A/1A on the Ridge Course at Eagle Crest Resort in Redmond.
The Crusaders, who led by 13 strokes after the first round, shot a two-day total of 694 to beat Marist Catholic (702) by eight strokes. Valley Catholic (794) was third and Marshfield (808) was fourth.
St. Mary's senior Riley Hammericksen – whose sister, Baylee, won individual titles for the Crusaders in 2018 and 2019 – took medalist honors with a 3-over 147. Valley Catholic junior Challin Kim, the 4A Showcase winner last year, was runner-up at 150.
Dufur junior Tora Timinsky (151) placed third and Marist Catholic sophomore Eva Reddy and Catlin Gabel sophomore Ava Austria tied for fourth at 156.
St. Mary's lineup featured Hammericksen, junior Brigit O'Connell (154), sophomore Chelsea Horn (180) and junior Lucy Maxwell (203).