3A girls golf: Bezdicek looking to move up one spot on leaderboard

Three-time Class 3A runner-up has lead after first round

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter

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WOODLAND — Sierra Bezdicek didn’t have the best start to her fourth state golf tournament. But the three-time state runner-up finished strong to grab a one-stroke lead at the midway point of the WIAA Class 3A girls golf state tournament.

Making her fourth state tournament appearance, the senior from Mount Spokane High School shot 4-under-par on the back nine at Lewis River Golf Course to finish Wednesday’s first round at 1-under 72. She leads Mercer Island freshman Rachel Fujitani by one stroke and junior Sarah Rhee from Ingraham of Seattle by two strokes.

The tournament concludes with another 18 holes on Thursday. Bezdicek and Fujitani will tee off last, at 9:40 a.m.

A year ago, Bezdicek finished second in the state tournament on this course to Columbia River’s Chloe Bartek, who now golfs for Sacramento State. As a sophomore she finished second to her older sister, Savanna. As a freshman, she was second by one stroke.

On Wednesday, it took a late flurry of birdies to get Bezdicek the lead. Starting with a birdie on the par-4 14th, she birdied four of the last five holes.

“I made a good birdie putt on that (14th) and that got me in the birdie mode,” Bezdicek said.

Birdies on holes five and six helped freshman Fujitani settle into her game and erased an early double-bogey.

“My strategy was just to hit it down the fairway, because this is a course where you have to place your shots,” Fujitani said. “The course is beautiful. It’s a little tough, but if you know how to play it you can score.”

Rhee of Ingraham placed fourth here last year. She birdied the first two holes and was 1-under 34 at the turn.

“I just played it in the fairway and put it to (within) 10 feet and put it in,” Rhee said of her early birdies.

Fort Vancouver sophomore Bridget Standard shot an 84 on the first day of her second state tournament and sits in 11th place entering play Thursday. She hit her first tee shot into a tree then missed a makable putt on the first hole. On the 10th, her tee shot found water.

“I hit a couple of bad drives and I missed a couple putts I would’ve liked to make, but other than that it was pretty good,” Standard said of her day.

All four Mountain View golfers made the cut to play in Thursday’s second round. Jenna’e LeComte led the Thunder with an 85, the day’s 12th lowest score. Annie Lu is tied for 21st at 89, Abby Kadrmas tied for 31st at 92, and Ahreum Yang was one of the last three golfers to make the cut at 94.

For Prairie, Tiffany Hanson is tied for 33rd with a first-day score of 93. Falcons Kaitlyn Michaelson (101) and Courtney Bradshaw (115) did not make the cut to play on Thursday. Morgan Anthony of Columbia River (104) also missed the cut.

Bezdicek, who in the fall will join her sister on the Northern Arizona golf team, said her focus on Thursday will be to produce one more consistent state tournament round.

“It’s definitely surreal that it is my last year,” Bezdicek said. “I feel like I’ve been doing this for so long. But it’s the same approach. I just want to put up a good score that I’m proud of and hopefully our team does well, too. That’s what we’re really shooting for.”

With five golfers among the top 21 and two in the top five, Mount Spokane is well positioned to win the team championship.