Juanita's Garber leads at 3A state boys golf

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter

Published:

 

Class 3A Boys

Where: Tri-Mountain Golf Course, Ridgefield.

Layout: 6,600 yards, par 72.

Leaders:

Frank Garber, Juanita 70

Ben Richards, Glacier Peak 71

Patrick Sato, Interlake 72

Sam Warkentin, Bainbridge 72

Today’s schedule: First tee times are at 7:30 a.m.; leaders tee off at 9:27 a.m.

RIDGEFIELD — The defending Class 3A state boys golf champion is right where he wants to be heading into the final round: First place.

Frank Garber of Juanita fired a 2-under-par 70 Tuesday at Tri-Mountain Golf Course, putting himself in very familiar position. He shot a 70 last year in the first round, then won the title by nine strokes.

He will need another low round to run away from this year's class. Garber has eight players within four strokes of his lead — including Mountain View's Taylor Smith, who carded a 2-over 74.

"I was not hitting the ball well at all," Smith said. "I was battling a bad hook today. It took me a while to get it together. I actually shot better in the crappy weather."

Golfers with earlier tee times had dry conditions at first. Many of them were hit with rain on the back-nine. Those with later tee times played in the rain from start to finish.

Garber was one of the fortunate ones, teeing off in the second group of the day.

"It was really tough conditions on the back nine, when it got rainy and windy," Garber said. "I played smart. I played safe. This course is definitely difficult."

Ben Richards of Glacier Peak was in the second half of the Tuesday morning draw, but the weather did not affect him. He fired a 71 to get within a shot of the lead and make it into Wednesday's final group with Garber.

"It will be nice to know what I need to do, if I need to play aggressive or just make pars," Richards said.

A freshman posted a 72 in the first group of the day.

"I didn't have any expectations. I was just trying to compete against the course," said Sam Warkentin of Bainbridge. "It was a really good experience."

Patrick Sato of Interlake joined Warkentin at even par and will play in the final group — a foursome — which tees off at 9:27 a.m.

Sato was kicking himself for his struggles on the back-nine. He was 3-under on the front nine.

Three golfers — Conner Dennessen of Glacier Peak, Trent Jones of Shorecrest, and Tanner Martin of Hanford — were 1-over with 73s. They were followed by Nick Mandell of Southridge and Smith with their 74s.

Smith was not alone on the course. A number of friends from Mountain View watched his round.

Smith appreciated his gallery.

"It's awesome, especially for my senior year," he said of playing so close to home. "It's a huge advantage. I'm going to go low tomorrow."

Columbia River's Brandon Barnes, in the second-to-last group, recorded a 77. It was the best score of the final 32 golfers, the ones who never really got a break from the weather.

There were 44 players who scored 81 or better, making the cut for Wednesday's final round.