Sports

Johnson, golfers ready to swing into the postseason

Practice makes perfect, especially on the golf course.

Broc Johnson epitomizes that old, but true, saying. The Todd Beamer High School junior opened the eyes of the high school golf world during the postseason last year when he finished as the runner-up at the Class 4A State Boys Golf Championships.

Johnson has backed up his impressive performance during the South Puget Sound League regular season this fall. Johnson has consistently shot at or under-par to lead the Titan boys win the SPSL title.

But the sweet-swinging left hander’s golf game didn’t develop overnight. Like most elite-level golfers, Johnson perfected his game on the practice range and green. Obviously, all the work is paying dividends.

“Broc has very good work habits, a great swing and a desire to improve,” said Beamer head coach Jim Nilsen. “Whether on the driving range, putting green or the course, you will not find him wasting his time or shots. There are many days he is still at the course putting, chipping or hitting balls long after the rest of the team has left. He is just driven to keep improving his game.

“He is just a regular guy, who works very hard at his game and has the inner confidence, the inner drive and discipline that allows him to play at a very high level.”

Johnson is hoping to continue his high level of play when the golf postseason gets underway today at Gold Mountain Golf Course in Port Orchard with the first-round of the South Puget Sound League Medalist Tournament. The two-day tournament will conclude Thursday with individual state tournament berths on the line.

The top-18 finishers after the two rounds will advance to the Class 4A State Golf Championships in the Tri-Cities in the spring. The tournament will include golfers from the South Puget Sound League’s North and South divisions.

“There is no cockiness about Broc,” Nilsen said. “I don’t know if he considers himself an elite player. He is just one of the guys at practice.”

At last year’s SPSL Tournament, Johnson ended up in second place behind Kentridge’s Chris Cho with a two-round, 2-under score of 142.

“Obviously, he has been very important to our program,” Nilsen said. “Since Beamer opened six years ago, the program has been fortune enough to have some very fine golfers.”

During it’s first four years of existence, the Titans featured Thomas Jun, who is currently playing golf at Western Washington University. During his Beamer career, Jun was a three-time South Puget Sound League Central Division Player of the Year and a four-time all-league choice. He placed third at the Class 4A state tournament as a senior, eighth as a junior in 2006 and tied for 27th as a sophomore.

“He lead the way for the first four years and Broc, after playing a year in Thomas’ footsteps, has taken the lead the last two years,” Nilsen said.

Johnson isn’t the only Federal Way school district golfer primed for a run at the state tournament. The girls state championships will be held at the Sun Willows Golf Course and the boys will play at Canyon Lakes Golf Course in May.

The Decatur girls have a pair of golfers who should make some noise during the West Central District Tournament. Sophomore Stacey Blunt and freshman Amanda Beyke have put together solid seasons for the Gators.

Blunt has been one of the best golfers in the SPSL this season and helped Decatur finish unbeaten in league play by consistently shooting rounds in the low 40s. She earned medalist honors in all but one match this season and played at last year’s state championships as a freshman, finishing in a tie for 11th. Blunt also finished second in the 2008 Pacific Northwest Golf Association Tournament.

Beyke has also been consistently in the 40s all season and was the 2007 14-year-old state champion during the summer season.

The Jefferson girls are led by senior Jayme Carbon, who is attempting to qualify for her fourth-straight trip to the Class 4A State Girls Golf Championships.

On the boys’ side, the Thomas Jefferson Raiders return plenty of postseason experience. The Raiders have two players who played at last year’s state tournament — Erik Jarvey and Keenan Darrow. Jefferson’s team also includes Quinn Hildebrandt and Charles Lee, who both qualified for state in 2007. Lee finished 24th individually at the tournament.

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

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