Sports

Federal Way golfers make a little noise at state

By CASEY OLSON

Sports editor

Eric Taylor didn’t finish in the top-10, but he came pretty close.

The Decatur junior placed 11th at the two-day Class 4A State Boys Golf Championships, which concluded Tuesday at the Canyon Lakes Golf Course in the Tri-Cities. Taylor shot a two-day total of 147.

“Our goal was really to be in the top 10,” said Decatur boys coach Kevin Olson. “Eric made a nice run on Tuesday to get to 11th place.”

After Monday’s opening round, Taylor was mired in the middle of the pack after shooting a 4-over 76, making the cut by only one stroke. The 80-player field is sliced in half after the first day.

But Taylor rebounded with a final-round 1-under 71 to move up in the standings.

“He’s going away even more determined to come back next year and make a run at winning the tournament,” Olson said. “He’s got the talent and if he continues to work at his game and put in the time, he will have a chance to reach his goal next year.”

Jefferson senior Brandon Brown also made the cut after firing a solid 2-over 74 on the first day of competition, which was good for seventh place entering the final round.

But a cold putter on Tuesday dropped the three-time state qualifier into 23rd place with a 76.

Federal Way’s Graham Milligan shot an 85 the first day and failed to make the cut. Milligan fired a solid 39 on the front nine at Canyon Lakes, but followed with a back-nine 46.

Richland High School’s Zach Bixler won the 4A boys tournament by shooting a pair of 70’s. Richland also won the team title over second-place Ferris.

It’s the third year in a row a player from Eastern Washington has won the tournament. The last 4A boy from Western Washington to win came in 2001 when Puyallup’s Ryan Moore took the title. It was also the last year the tournament was played on this side of the mountains at Avalon Country Club in Burlington.

The current state tournament format heavily favors players from Eastern Washington for two reasons — the schools play their regular golf seasons during the spring and the conditions are far different than in the Puget Sound area, because of wind and firmer greens. Schools here play their regular seasons during the fall sports season.

On the 4A girls’ side, Decatur senior Cailin Magruder had a solid tournament, especially during her first-round of play. Magruder finished up in 12th place with a two-day total of 165 at Meadow Springs in Richland. In her opening round of play, Magruder fired a personal-best round of 78 at the par-72 course, which was good for sixth place entering Tuesday’s final round.

“That was her best round as a competitive golfer,” said Decatur girls coach Rick Dennison.

Magruder followed her 78 with a 40 on the front nine during the second round and then “the wheels started to loosen up,” he said. Magruder finished with a back-nine 47 to shoot 87.

“All in all, she was very happy with her finish,” Dennison said.

Juli Eubanks, from Decatur, failed to make it past the first-day of competition after tallying a first-round score of 101.

Bellarmine Prep’s Chris Yun won the girls title with a two-day total of 147. Bellarmine also won the team title over second-place Kamiak.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com

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