Zach Victor, Federal Way High School boys golf captain, practices putting before the Eagles’ match against Auburn Tuesday at North Shore Golf Course in Tacoma. Coach Bart Turchin said Victor is one of three players who has a shot at qualifying to play in the state tournament next May. JESSICA KELLER, The Mirror

Eagles golf team wraps league play in third place, heading to districts next week

The Federal Way High School boys golf team wrapped up North Puget Sound League play in third place after splitting two matches this week, losing to Enumclaw Wednesday and defeating Auburn Tuesday.

Eagles coach Bart Turchin said he is still pleased with how the regular season turned out. Federal Way improved from last year, and he said the team has a good chance of sending three players to state next spring – Carter Berry, Cole Bakker and Zach Victor. Turchin is already looking ahead.

“I’m excited because we’re only losing one senior this year, so we have a lot of young players returning,” he said.

Berry, Bakker and Victor are three of those athletes, but Turchin said there are a couple of good freshmen and sophomores slated to return.

First, the Eagles will test their mettle again at the district competition Monday and Tuesday in Bremerton. He said the team will get in some extra practice time on the 18-hole course prior to the event.

One of the keys to the Eagles’ success this year has been Turchin’s emphasis.

“We spend a lot of time on the short game,” Turchin said, adding games are won or lost there.

His players, like most young golfers, prefer to hit drivers.

“They’re just young kids. They want to go out and smash the ball,” he said.

The shift in emphasis, plus Turchin’s background as a professional golfer, has paid off for his team, he said, adding his career has allowed him to teach the athletes, as opposed to just coaching them.

Turchin said, based on his players’ progress this season, they are clearly getting better, but a lot of factors can impact a game of golf, including what kind of day the athletes’ had, as well as luck.

“Trying to keep the 16 or 17-year-old’s mind focused is probably my biggest challenge,” Turchin said with a laugh.

Looking at how they wrapped up the season, trailing only behind second-place Auburn Mountainview and first-place Enumclaw, Turchin said the Eagles are ready for districts, and he expects good things from his top three players: Berry, Bakker and Victor.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the three of them make it to state,” he said.

The team as a whole has been playing more consistently the past few weeks, which has Turchin feeling positive.

District will pose a challenge for his players because all-league play has taken place on nine-hole courses.

“District is 18 holes, so it’s a little different animal,” Turchin said, adding the key will be for his players to move on when they struggle on a hole, which is inevitable. “It’s a lot longer day than they’re used to.”

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