UMATILLA — Despite playing through wind and rain, McLoughlin High School improved its score by 23 strokes over its showing on the same course last season for a third-place finish in the Umatilla Invite at the par-70 Big River Golf Course Thursday.
Mac-Hi edged out fourth-place La Grande by just a stroke, finishing the 18-hole round in 368 strokes.
Hermiston won the match with a team score of 340 and Pendleton claimed second with a score of 353. The Dalles (374), Sunnyside (381) and Grandview (469) rounded out the boys field.
Mac-Hi did not bring a girls team to the invite.
Sterling Sandberg carded an 89 to lead the Pioneers. Andrew Kain finished with 90, Rain Wheeler 91, Tyler Williams 98, and Dalton Wesner 104.
“I think we’re headed in the right direction beause we improved 23 total shots from last year,” Mac-Hi coach Barry Wofford said. “So that’s encouraging that we’re going in the right direction.”
Rain Wheeler’s round represented a 21-stroke improvement over his effort on the same course last year, and Tyler Williams improved his score by 17 strokes.
Second-year golfer Wesner’s score didn’t count toward Mac-Hi’s team total, but Wofford was proud of his round nonetheless.
“Dalton Wesner got off to a horrendous start,” Wofford said. “He was 16-over par after four holes, but he really settled in there and played bogey golf the remainder of the way — that showed a lot of mental toughness.”
Mac-Hi doesn’t play again until the Wildhorse Classic in Pendleton Monday, April 1st.