State berths at stake for SK golf teams

Unlike other sports where there’s a district and/or regional tournament before a state tournament, high school golf teams qualify for state by placing in the top 15 of their respective league tournaments.

For the South Kitsap High School boys and girls golf teams it’s crunch time today at the Spanaway Lake Golf Course.

The SK boys have the usual suspects in juniors Brady Sharp and Ryan Aker, but it’s the play of sophomore Tristan Wharton that could propel SK into state contention.

Last year Sharp and Aker made the cut at state and scored enough points to place eighth at state.

SK coach Sean Duttry said if Wharton can place in the top 15 at the Narrows League tournament anything could happen at state.

The boys tee off today. Those who make the cut advance to the final round Friday at 11 a.m.

As for Sharp and Aker, Duttry thinks both should place higher at state this year.

“They’re right on cue,” Duttry said. “Brady should finish in the top 10 and Ryan has gotten more consistent. He could place in the top 10, too.”

Duttry said everyone needs to concentrate on the league tournament before looking ahead to the state tournament.

“They should expect to make it, but golf’s crazy,” Duttry said. “I’ll bet the cut is at 78, which is above their stroke average.”

Duttry said stiff competition will come from Bellarmine, Capital, Olympia and Gig Harbor.

Duttry said his golfers have improved their stroke play as the season has progressed.

On the girls side, senior Molly Ingham will be gunning for her third straight state appearance.

While it has been a solo gig the last two years, Ingham should be accompanied by sophomore Kathryn Lawman, who has been SK’s No. 1 golfer for the majority of the season.

“I think Kathryn has the inside track to go on,” Murphy said. “On the other hand Molly defeated Central Kitsap’s C.J. Hanson on her own course.”

SK coach Bob Murphy said Katie O’Brien could also add to the mix with a little bit of luck.

While the top 15 boys advance to state, 13 girls will advance out of the league tournament.

The SK girls will tee off Thursday and those who make the cut advance to the final round Friday.

Considering the mental toughness the girls have had to play through with rotten weather, Murphy said they’ll be focused and ready to play.

“I think they’re tough as nails,” Murphy said. “The weather has been such a big factor. We only played 18 holes twice this season. Between the rain, wind and the slop these girls really played through the weather.”

Murphy said golf is difficult in that golfers are competing against three different aspects of the game.

“I told them they’ll be playing against the elements, the course, and competitors.”

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