A couple of weeks ago, Camas boys golf coach Ed Givens called to report his club’s season-opening match.
Givens was very pleased with the prep debut of his freshman, Owen Huntington, who shot an even-par 36 at The Cedars on Salmon Creek.
That was pretty good. But that day, there was one better.
Mountain View freshman Graham Moody debuted by shooting a 4-under-par 30 at Fairway Village that same day.
It didn’t surprise Givens. Huntington and Moody have been playing and practicing together for some time now as the two of the region’s top junior golfers.
“We’ve practiced a lot together,” Huntington said of Moody. “And it’s really great, just to push each other, help each other to improve.”
Moody said: “So last year, I probably saw (Owen) every day in the winter out at Camas Meadows. We used to learn from the same coach. So I’ve known him for a long time.”
And as good as Moody and Huntington are, they aren’t alone. Clark County is overrun with talented freshman golfers this fall.
At the Jeff Hudson Invitational last Tuesday at Tri-Mountain, seniors led the way as Union’s Dylan Henry and Keith Lobis and Prairie’s Dante Heitschmidt all shot 70. But the leaderboard also included four freshmen in the top nine.
Moody led the way shooting a 1-over 72 and placing fifth. Huntington was a shot back at 74. Then came Ridgefield’s Cade Bringhurst at 75 (seventh) and Mountain View’s Willie Yeh at 76 (tied for eighth).
And while finishing in the top six at their first 18-hole high school tournament would be exciting for most freshman, both Moody and Huntington were looking for something more.
“It was rough for me,” Huntington said of his round Tuesday at Tri-Mountain. “I got off to a rough start. And coming back from that was certainly a challenge. I feel like I did that pretty well, but overall it was pretty rough.”
Moody said: “It was not the best, but it was certainly a good experience. I got off to a consistent start. I started off with five pars. But then I got an unfortunate bounce on (No. 7) that kicked out of bounds. I was able to save bogey there. … But from there, I wasn’t able to hit my wedges close enough to get birdies.”
Clark County has been a hotbed for boys golfers. Over the past decade or so, Clark County has produced either an individual champion or team champion in one of the state tournaments.
With Fort Vancouver’s Spencer Tibbits — the 3A state champion three of the past four years — moving on to Oregon State, there’s an opportunity for another golfer to step up as Clark County’s top prep golfer.
There are certainly plenty of experience candidates like Union’s Lobis, Prairie’s Jacob Abrahamson and Columbia River’s Kyle Gomez, among many others. Last Tuesday’s tournament at Tri-Mountain showed that. Twelve golfers posted round below 80 on a very breezy day in Ridgefield.
Next week’s Prairie Invitational at The Cedars on Salmon Creek will offer more insight.
But the title of the county’s next prep champion could come from this talented bunch of freshmen.
And that could be good news for Mountain View coach Jim Peterson, whose team is spearheaded by two freshmen in Moody and Yeh.
It has Moody excited about the prospects.
“The team aspect (of high school golf) is great,” Moody said. “Coach Peterson is a great coach. He’s the leadership teacher, and it’s great to work with him and all the guys on the team.”
Tim Martinez is the assistant sports editor/prep editor for The Columbian. He can be reached at (360) 735-4538, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow his Twitter handle @360TMart.