WALLA WALLA - Tyler Salsbury and Catherina Li made their lead after two rounds stand up in final round action here at the 35th annual Washington State Junior Golf Association State Championships.
Salsbury started play Friday at the Walla Walla Country Club with a two-shot lead then saw that evaporate, but came back with an even-par 72 and took the overall boys championship with a three-round total of 210, six shots under par. Shoreline's Chris Babcock came from five shots back to take Friday medalist honors with a final round 68 and move into second place, one shot behind, with a 211 total.
Salsbury, a senior-to-be at Enumclaw who has made an early commitment to the University of Washington golf program, fired rounds of 69, 69, and finished with a 72 to secure the win.
"The final score looked more consistent than the tournament was," Salsbury said. "The first day couldn't have gone much smoother. Then the second day I got off to the fastest start I've ever had. I was six under through nine holes. (But) it was ugly on the back nine and I gave a few back. Today, I went out and tried to keep things smooth, and limit any damage. I did that pretty well."
It wasn't easy for Salsbury, as Redmond's Garrett Foss pulled into a tie for the lead after Salsbury bogeyed the par-3 fourth hole and Foss holed a birdie. Foss moved into the lead with a bird on the par-5 seventh, but Salsbury responded.
"I knew I just had to weather the storm," Salsbury said. "I knew it (the Foss charge) was coming. The way he (Foss) started, I knew birdies were coming. I tried to hit the shots I knew I could hit and play my game."
Foss bogeyed eight and nine while Salsbury closed the front side with pars and regained a one-shot lead at the turn. Salsbury eliminated Foss on the twelfth as Foss earned a par, but Salsbury fired home a birdie to put four strokes between Foss and himself. Salsbury went on to go one under on the back side to finish at even par and claim the boys title.
"On the twelfth hole, Garrett made about a 30-footer," Salsbury said. "I'd knocked it in there about eight feet, and I made mine on top of his (shot). That was a big confidence builder going into the last few holes."
On the girls' side, Li, who opened the tournament with a 75, fired a two-under 70 on Thursday, and went into Friday's final round with a three-stroke lead over Lewiston's Amy Hasenoehrl.
Li carved out a round of four birdies and two bogeys to finish at two-under 70 on the round and pull away from the competition.
Goldendale's Bree Wanderscheid and Auburn's Alexus Song finished in a two-way tie for second at 226, 11 strokes behind Li, as Li completed her rebound from the first round all the way to the girls championship.
"The first round was a little rough," Li said. "The front nine was fine, I was two under. On the back nine, I four putted one (hole) and had three, three-putts from within 10 feet."
With an assist from dad, Li, a sophomore-to-be at Stanwood High School, regrouped.
"I came back here (WW Country Club)," Li said. "I practiced for two hours, but it didn't help much as I was really mad and couldn't let go of my bad shots.
"Then my dad and I re-collected. He said, ‘Golf isn't a game where you can just get angry, you've got to just let it go, and remember there are still two more days.' I put that into thought. The funny thing is that he (dad) told me if I would shoot a pair of 70s, I would win."
Dad knows best as Li finished with a "pair of 70s" and won the title.
"I finished pretty strong," Li concluded. "I'm pretty content with the way I played. This was the third tournament that I've been in the lead, and it felt pretty routine. A year ago, I would've been shaking as I get really nervous, (but this year) I told myself to ‘play my own game and I could win.'"
Walla Walla's only representative to survive the cut and play on the last day was Emily Baumgart in the 12-13 girls division.
Nick Atwood, boys 14-15, shot 164 but it wasn't good enough to make Friday's play. Jessica Huntsman, girls 14-15, fired a 169 over her two rounds and failed to make the cut.
Baumgart, who fired an 86 over Friday's round and coupled with an 81 and 83 to open the tournament, finished with a score of 250. Sarah Lawrence of Duvall captured the 12-13 girls title with a 240.
The weekend marked Baumgart's first time to make the cut and first experience with a three-round tournament.
"In sub-district, you play one round, then in district it's two rounds," Baumgart said. "Three rounds wasn't that bad."
Lawrence fashioned a round of 81 on Friday to squeak out a one-stroke win over second-place Ashley Fitzgibbons, who shot an 82 to finish at 241. Baumgart concluded her tournament with the 86.
"My front nine today was not too good," Baumgart said. "I did better on the back nine. No. 7, on which I hit a really good drive, and No. 16 were my best today."
Baumgart finished her last 12-13 age group tournament with fourth place and will move to the 14-15 age group next season.
"It was fun," the Assumption eighth-grader-to-be concluded. "It was my first time ever to make the cut. I owe thanks to my golf coach (John Thorsnes of Wine Valley), for the guidance, as I practiced from March until now."
In other boys action, Kirkland's Frank Garber finished with a 71 on Friday and a total of 213 to win the boys 14-15 age and finish in a tie for third overall in the boys competition.
Bainbridge Island's Sam Warkentin finished at 222 to edge Vancouver's Spencer Tibbits by one shot in the boys 12-13 race.
Tacoma's Joe Highsmith fashioned a 150 to win the boys 8-11 division.
In the 16-17 girls play, Song's 226 total took first place in the division, and a tie for second to Li overall.
Overlake's Abigal Euyang shot 165 over three days to claim first in the girls 8-11 group.
WJGA State Championships
Boys 16-17 Division
Tyler Salsbury, Enumclaw 69-69-72-210
Chris Babcock, Shoreline 71-72-68-211
Li Wang, Sammamish 72-71-70-213
Zack Spencer, Mead 70-73-72-215
Kelly Campbell, Auburn 73-72-71-216
James Feutz, Tacoma 70-74-72-216
Anthony Allen, Everett 75-72-70-217
Charlie Kern, West Seattle 70-74-74-218
Michael Almonte, Fircrest 69-72-77-218
Tye Morrison, Spokane 75-74-70-219
Kyle Cornett, Mill Creek 74-76-70-220
Chris Tedesco, Gig Harbor 69-74-77-220
Ryan Books, Seattle 76-72-73-221
Garrett Foss, Redmond 73-67-81-221
Brennan Emory, Mount Vernon 70-75-77-222
David Won, Everett 75-73-74-222
Ryan Wallen, Blaine 74-75-73-222
Cooper Wright, Moscow, Idaho 75-72-75-222
Samson Martinez, Pasco 76-74-75-225
Oliver Rudnicki, Woodinville 81-68-78-227
Boys 14-15 Division
Frank Garber, Kirkland 72-70-71-213
Brian Mogg, Sammamish 75-70-71-216
Michael Baldeck, Clarkston 70-72-76-218
Nolan Cull, Lake Tapps 73-73-72-218
Joe Harvie, Orting 72-75-72-219
Gregory Gildea, Vashon 79-70-72-221
Brian Moon, Mukilteo 70-77-75-222
Eric Ansett, Spokane 75-74-74-223
Chase Carlson, Tacoma 74-76-76-226
Spencer Weiss, Sammamish 75-75-77-227
Stephen Roller, Hayden, Idaho 73-77-77-227
Brendan McCauley, Olympia 77-75-76-228
Aubrey MacKenzie, Poulsbo 76-76-76-228
Eugene Wackerbarth, Clyde Hill 75-71-83-229
Tanner Kovacevich, Edgewood 76-77-76-229
Brett Manke, Tacoma 74-79-77-230
Aaron Whalen, Ephrata 78-74-78-230
Ahren Young, Renton 75-78-78-231
Kenny Dodge, Post Falls, Idaho 78-75-79-232
Tanner Comes, Spokane 78-73-82-233
Boys 12-13 Division
Sam Warkentin, Bainbridge Island 76-72-74-222
Spencer Tibbits, Vancouver 74-74-75-223
Vincent Vu, Auburn 76-77-72-225
Grant Cole, Redmond 76-77-74-227
John Sand, Grays Harbor 77-73-78-228
Zachary Evens, Mercer Island 78-78-79-235
Travis Kay, Ellensburg 73-79-83-235
Kenneth Sheldon, Ocean Park 78-80-80-238
Joseph Baldeck, Clarkston 78-80-82-240
Boys 8-11 Division
Joe Highsmith, Tacoma 38-39-73-150
Alvin Kwak, Snohomish 38-37-80-155
ian Siebers, Bellevue 39-39-81-159
Connor Golembeski, Redmond 41-39-80-160
Ryan Park, Bellevue 39-41-82-162
Dylan Bissell, Yakima 39-42-82-163
Nathan Cogswell, Kent 43-39-81-163
Sean Kato, Redmond 43-39-82-164
Colt Sherrell, Maple Valley 40-42-85-167
Ryan Feyrer, Lacey 40-41-89-170
Parker Kneadler, Maple Valley 43-39-96-178
Girls 16-17 Division
Alexus Song, Auburn 80-73-73-226
Kassidy Long-Goheen, Gig Harbor 82-72-79-233
Savana Bezdicek, Colbert 74-77-85-236
Amanda Beyke, Federal Way 81-78-78-237
Taylor Anderson, Moscow, Idaho 84-75-79-238
Sammie Pless, West Seattle 82-77-86-245
Jessica Kent, Bellevue 84-75-87-246
Girls 14-15 Division
Catherina Li, Kent 75-70-70-215
Bree Wanderscheid, Goldendale 73-76-77-226
Amy Hasenoehrl, Lewiston, Idaho 72-76-82-230
Oliva Benzin, Tacoma 78-78-79-235
Marianne Li, Bellevue 76-78-84-238
Alivia Brown, Gig Harbor 76-81-82-239
Girls 12-13 Division
Sarah Lawrence, Duvall 81-78-81-240
Ashley Fitzgibbons, Sammamish 81-78-82-241
Sarah Rhee, Seattle 78-83-83-244
Emily Baumgart, Walla Walla 81-83-86-250
Girls 8-11 Division
Abigail Euyang, Seattle 41-40-84-165
Kenedee Peters, Olympia 46-47-84-177
Gabrielle Ferreira, University Place 48-44-91-183
Brittany Kwon, Silverdale 46-48-93-187