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Taylor shoots his way to state tourney
By CASEY OLSON
Decatur junior Eric Taylor finally gets the opportunity to play at state. Taylor finished up in fifth place at the South Puget Sound League Golf Tournament Tuesday and Wednesday at the Gold Mountain Golf Course in Bremerton. The top-16 finishers at the tournament advanced to the Class 4A State Golf Championships, which are scheduled for the spring in Eastern Washington.
It was an unbelievable good week for Eric, said Decatur boys coach Kevin Olson.
Taylor has failed to qualify for state during his two previous seasons at Decatur and last year he missed the cut after the first-day of competition at the SPSL Tournament by one stroke.
He really worked hard at it, Olson said. He was looking forward to this tournament for a long time.
This years SPSL Tournament could have actually been better. Taylor was assessed a two-stroke penalty during his second round of play Wednesday for violation of an obscure golf rule. A player in Taylors group told course officials that he was testing the putting surface with his hand.
It was kind of weird, Olson said. Im still a little unsure about it.
The two strokes would have given Taylor a second-place finish by himself. Instead he finished with a 3-over, 147 over the two rounds. Puyallups Dane Bagwell won the tournament by firing a 6-under, 138.
He was solid the whole time, Olson said.
On the first day, Taylor was 2-under when he stepped on the 18th tee, but his tee shot caught a tree and he ended up By CASEY OLSON
Sdouble-bogeying the hole to finish with an even-par 72. The second day started the way the first ended. Taylor three-putted the first two holes for a pair of bogeys. But he steadied the ship and ended up shooting a 3-over, 75 with the two-stroke penalty.
Taylor will be joined by Jeffersons Brandon Brown at state. Brown, a senior, will be making his third appearance in the state tournament after finishing up in 12th place at the SPSL Tournament. Brown fired a 152 over the two days of competition at Gold Mountain (76, 76).
Federal Ways Graham Milligan missed out on qualifying after a sudden-death playoff. Milligan, Sumners Andrew Drouet and Auburns Matt Barkey all shot 153 during the two days, tying for the 16th and last spot through to the state tourney. Drouet ended up winning the playoff, moving Milligan to the first alternate to the state tournament.
Curtis won the SPSL team title with 445 points. Federal Way finished up in seventh place with 481 points, Jefferson was ninth with 460 points, Decatur was 10th with 500 points and Beamer ended up in 12th with 507 points.
Cailin Magruder and Juli Eubanks will be heading back to the Class 4A State Golf Championships. The Decatur seniors finished fifth and sixth at Tuesday and Wednesdays South Puget Sound League Tournament at Gold Mountain Golf Course.
They played real well, said Decatur coach Rick Dennison. They were solid. It is a tough venue when you are playing 36 holes in two days, compared to nine holes every other day (like in league play). It wears on you.
Magruder and Eubanks, along with 2003 grad Katie Street, played at last springs state tournament. The Gators finished up in eighth place. Magruder finished in 40th and Eubanks failed to make the cut after the first day of play.
During this years SPSL Tournament, Magruder finished with a two-day total of 171 (84, 87) and Eubanks shot an 84 and 90 for a 174 total. Rogers Heather Olmstead won the tournament with an impressive 6-over par, 150.
A pair of Decatur freshman were also impressive in their first postseason appearance. Jenna Rochelle and Sydney Solomonson finished just off the state tournament cut. Rochelle shot a two-day total of 191 (94, 97) and Solomonson shot 192 (94, 98).
They were real close, Dennison said. It was a good learning lesson for them. They were the two top ninth-graders in the whole league.
As a team, the Gators finished up in second place behind Auburn, who Decatur tied with matching 11-1 records during the SPSL Central regular season. Auburns six-girl team ended up with 547 points, compared to Decaturs 551.
That was a real bummer, Dennison said. We lost by four strokes. Everybody was saying they could have made up four strokes out there. But thats just the way it goes.
Jefferson finished in 11th place with 646 strokes, Federal Way finished in 15th and Beamer failed to qualify.
Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, email@example.com