Three local golfers place in Banner Bank Junior Invitational

Jake Hanson, Jessica Huntsman and Emily Baumgart finished in the top three in the Banner Bank Junior Golf Invitational.



Jesssica Huntsman keeps an eye on her drive on the ninth hole during Friday play. Huntsman placed second in the 12-14 girls division.


Jake Hanson tees off at the eighth hole during the second round of the Banner Banks' Junior Invitational golf tournment at the Walla Walla County Club Friday.

WALLA WALLA - About 70 junior golfers and their families descended on Walla Walla for the Banner Bank Eastern Washington Junior Golf Invitational Thursday and Friday at the Walla Walla Country Club.

And three local golfers walked away with top-three finishes and a crystal cup.

Jake Hanson placed second in the 15-17 year old boys category. This was Hanson's final year of eligibility in the under-17 tournament, and the first time he's placed in his seven years competing there.

"It was great to place," Hanson said, loading his bag and juggling the cup after the award's ceremony. Hanson stroked 73 on the first day and 72 on the second for a combined 145.

The other local residents taking home prizes were in the 12-14 year old girls category.

Jessica Huntsman (85-91-176) placed second and Emily Baumgart (89-93-183) was third, behind repeat champion Kaceelyn Pouttu from Kellogg, Idaho.

This was Huntsman's third year in the tournament, and she wasn't happy with her play.

"I didn't do very well," she said of her score on the links after coming through the attesting tent. "This is a good experience. It carries well into practice."

Baumgart ran into some tough holes, but she said she enjoyed herself.

"This was fun," she said. "It was a good experience and a good chance to meet people."

Hanson has about 10 summer tournaments lined up with the Washington Junior Golf Association (WJGA) - basically one per weekend. This invitational was part of the WJGA.

"It's a good chance to play," Hanson said. "I'm friends with a lot of these guys, and we have a good time."

Hanson had some frustration through the day.

"I started off good, but I struggled with my short game," he said. "I got down four, but then struggled on a couple holes and got back to even.

"But I had a good round, at 72. My first and second rounds combined are a pretty good score."

Hanson was four strokes behind the winner, Clarkston's Tyler Carlson (71-70-141).

It's also an opportunity to meet college coaches and prepare for the school year, he said.

Hanson, a Wa-Hi golfer, has yet to qualify for the state tournament.

"My goal next year is to make it to state," he said. "That would be good. I'll be doing WJGA all summer and working hard."

Other local golfers also took good experiences from the tournament. Dean Atkinson (86-76-162) dropped 10 strokes from his day one score.

"It went pretty good (Friday)," Atkinson said. "My putting came around."

Most of his trouble Thursday was from putting, he said.

"That took me up," he said. "I worked on it."

This was Atkinson's second year in the tournament.

"I think it's really good," he said of the tournament. "It went well. It's a good place to play and an opportunity to meet people."

And Nick Atwood came off the boys 12-14 round less than thrilled.

"I did horrible," he said of his 78-92-170 tournament, where his strokes increased on every hole over the first day. This was Atwood's fifth time in the tournament.

"It's good to experience a tournament situation," he said. "It's a different pace and there's a lot more pressure."

That's part of the goal, said tournament organizer Carol Morgan. This is the 18th year of the invite-only tournament, which typically brings 50-80 Eastern Washington and Northwestern Idaho players to town. Golfers from Coeur d'Alene, Spokane, the Tri-Cities, Clarkston, Hermiston and the Yakima Valley attended this year's tournament.

"This is some of the better golf talent in the region," Morgan said. "They have to meet certain standards and screening guidelines to be invited here."

And many of the golfers Thursday and Friday are consistently leaders in their athletic divisions and at the state level in high school play.

"The summer golf season is more intense," she said. "These tournaments are a good resume builder to attract college coaches. ... This is higher-caliber play than most high school tournaments. Most of the kids playing high school golf, especially the better ones, play in WJGA. There are more tournaments and more opportunities to talk to coaches."

College coaches have occasionally arrived at the Banner Bank Invitational, but it's rare, she said. Usually, they're at the higher-level matches.

But one year, a Washington State University coach was there - to support his daughter, who was playing.

About 70 golfers from Washington, Idaho and Oregon attended this invitational, Morgan said.

Banner Bank is the original tournament sponsor, said Doug Bayne, bank director of marketing.

The bank sponsors the trophies and lunch for the golfers.

"This is part of our community support," he said. "It's part of living and doing business in Eastern Washington and Washington state."

Many of the golfers will hit the links again this week at Canyon Lakes in Kennewick before heading back to Walla Walla this weekend for play at Wine Valley golf course.

Final Score

Boys 15-17

Tyler Carlson Clarkston 71-70-141

Jake Hanson Walla Walla 73-72-145

Ryan Books East Wenatchee 73-14-147

Nick Atkin Kennewick 75-73-148

Eric Gravbrot Yakima 77-71-148

Sean Prue Kennewick 76-74-150

Riley Hayfield Kennewick 76-75-151

Nick Mandell Kennewick 76-76-152

B. Stillinger Coeur d'Alene, ID 76-76-152

Hunter Thompson Richland 76-76-152

Kurt Simmons Hermiston, OR 80-73-153

Samson Martinez Pasco 76-78-154

Mathew Rezendes Richland 76-78-154

Tanner Martin Richland 79-77-156

Zachary Spencer Mead 78-78-156

Jess Wingett Valleyford 77-79-156

Evan Dyar Spokane 80-77-157

R. Lacolucci South Cle Elum 82-75-157

Jack Tumlinson Kennewick 79-78-157

Jack Eiden Richland 80-78-158

Austin Westphal Kennewick 80-78-158

Austin Billeter Mead 81-78-158

Jeffrey Marcum West Richland 79-80-159

S. Skipper Coeur d'Alene 83-76-159

Zachary Powell Odessa 83-77-160

C. Simpson Spirit Lake, Idaho 79-82-161

Dean Atkinson Walla Walla 86076-162

Daniel Cruzen Kennewick 83-79-162

D.J. Hoyt Kennewick 84-80-164

Cole Risley West Richland 84-80-164

Garrett Adair Moscw, Idaho 85-81-166

R. Newcomb Nine Mile Falls 81-85-166

Mitch Rummer Deer Park 78-89-167

Tyler Jensen Yakima 83-86-169

Tommy Shepard Spokane 84-86-170

Girls 15-17

T. Anderson Moscow, Idaho 83-81-164

Kristin Strankman Richland 81-86-167

Mary McDonald Richland 87-81-168

Taylor Kain-Godoy Richland 89-83-172

Hope Neidhold Richland 84-92-176

Kelsey Aiello Pasco 93-89-182

Renae Visser Sunnyside 95-89-184

Michal Schuster St. John 90-97-187

Brianna Hadler Richland 89-102-191

Katie Stephens Richland 92-99-191

Erin Schuster St. John 94-105-199

Boys 12-14

Michael Baldeck Clarkston 76-70-146

Eric Dahl Richland 81-78-159

Blake Ellingsen Spokane 82-78-160

Andrew Raab Yakima 83-80-163

Tanner Comes Spokane 82-82-164

Matthew Heckel Spokane 84-81-165

S. Roller Hayden, Idaho 88-77-165

B. Gleason Lewiston, Idaho 85-83-168

Nick Atwood Walla Walla 78-92-170

Nathan Nulliner Yakima 93-86-179

Joseph Fenich Yakima 98-86-184

Austin Brown Kennewick 97-89-186

Jacob Rupp Chatteroy 100-88-188

Cody Culletto Clarkston 99-92-191

B. Stejar Spokane 103-105-208

Michael Warner Kennewick 136-130-266

Girls 12-14

K. Pouttu Kellogg, Idaho 76-79-155

Jessica Huntsman Walla Walla 85-91-176

Emily Baumgart Walla Walla 89-93-182

Neydeen Martinez Pasco 90-93-183

Haylee Hammons Pasco 101-91-192

Jalayne Martinez Pasco 95-98-193


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment

Click here to sign in