WALLA WALLA — The budding rivalry between DeSales’ golfer Jerod Konen and Liberty Christian’s Isaiah Ojeda added another chapter at the DeSales Invitational at Wine Valley on Tuesday.
After Ojeda bested Konen last week at Canyon Lakes, the duo tied this time around, as both golfers fired a 75 on the par-72 course. The history between the two goes back to last year’s state competition, where Ojeda finished second by just one stroke in front of third-place Konen.
“These guys could easily be 1-2 at state,” DeSales coach Lon Olson said. “There’s a good rivalry going. When they played Canyon Lake last Tuesday, Isaiah shot 82 and Jared shot 83.”
This time around, Ojeda opened a two-shot lead at the turn, as he turned in a 35 on the front nine. Konen rallied on the back, however, as his score of 38 bested Ojeda by two strokes.
Konen’s score helped the Irish secure first place, as DeSales fired a 229 as a team. McLoughlin High School finished second, with a 256, Pomeroy took third with a 260 and Walla Walla Valley Academy came in last with a 324.
The golfers battled more than just the narrow fairways and tricky greens at Wine Valley, however, as howling wind and intermittent rain highlighted the round.
“Today in the wind, if you hit the ball low, you got a great roll,” Olson said. “The greens were not holding at all and there probably were a lot more three- and four-putts than we’d like to have, but that’s just the nature of the beast. The rain didn’t seem to affect the speed (of the greens) at all. They were really fast.”
“It’s a great opportunity for us to come play,” Pomeroy coach Jim Greene said. “It’s a beautiful course. Our kids only get to see it once a year and they have to adjust.”
Behind Konen, DeSales’ Scott Kimball and Lucas Lyons both carded 77s to tie for third individually. Kimball, who started 6-over after the first five holes, finished 1-under over the final 13 holes.
Lyons, who is battling an injured wrist, started his round on hole 18, where he nailed the flagstick on his approach shot. After the ball rolled off the green, Lyons salvaged par by getting up-and-down.
“Those are awesome scores,” Olson said. “That’s two in a row for Scottie. He was medalist last week and he shoots a 77. That’s pretty encouraging.
“For (Lucas) to shoot a 77 today, that’s what we need right there.”
Andrew Kain led the Pioneers with an 80, which was good for fifth place individually. Riley Chester and Rain Wheeler rounded out the Mac-Hi scorecard with scores of 87 and 89, respectively.
Pomeroy eighth grader Jacob Tewalt and senior Tyson Feider led the Pirates with a pair of 86s. Fellow eighth grader Devan Caruso also fired an 88.
“It’s challenging,” Greene said of Wine Valley. “It just plays different — tight fairways, fast greens, big greens with lots of challenges — it’s just a great venue for us to come play.”
Walla Walla Valley Academy’s Dylan Trapani led the Knights with a 94.
Behind him, Joey Hutton fired a 99 and Ryan Ligman carded a 131. With Trapani and Hutton set to play Palouse Ridge next week, WWVA coach Eric Hays said playing a challenging course such as Wine Valley will help them improve.
“I think that Joey and Dylan are going to move forward,” Hays said. “They’re going to play Palouse Ridge on Tuesday — they’re going to love that. This was kind of to give them an idea.”
On the girls side, DeSales Emily Baumgart took medalist honors with an 83. Pomeroy’s Teresa Myers finished second with a 96.
Baumgart fired a 44 on the front nine, before shooting 39 on the back. Baumgart heads to Suntides Golf Course in Yakima next week where she will square off with defending 1A state champion Bree Wanderscheid of Goldendale High School.
“Emily needs as much competition as she can get,” Olson said.