RIDGEFIELD — As much as Camas’ Owen Huntington and Skyview’s Allen Kim wanted to focus on their own game entering Thursday’s 4A District 4 boys golf championships, it was hard not to at least consider the opponent.
The two entered the day separated by two strokes and would be in the final grouping, which teed off at nearly 1 p.m. after a 90-minute frost delay earlier in the day. Two of the area’s best golfers were set to go toe to toe, and they didn’t disappoint.
The duo traded birdies, evaded disasters and dueled for 18 holes. As the shadows got long at Tri-Mountain Golf Course it was Huntington being crowned a district champ.
Huntington shot even-par Thursday to go with his 1-under 71 Wednesday for a 143. Kim finished even-par also, ending the tournament with a 73-72-145 for second place.
It was finally a rewarding district meet for Huntington, whose title hopes were dashed in a playoff at the same course a year ago.
“It’s a good win, definitely,” Huntington said. “I didn’t think about it too much when I was out on the course, but yeah, it feels good.”
Huntington extended his lead to four strokes when he made three consecutive birdies on the fifth, sixth and seventh holes.
Kim responded with a birdie on the seventh and the eighth to stay within punching distance, as the two completed a four-hole run in a combined five-under. They made the turn at three-under and two-under on the day, respectively.
“It felt pretty good,” Kim said. “Going into the back nine, I was just trying to keep it up and do the same thing.”
But how quickly fortunes change in golf, as both bogeyed the par-4 10th. On the 13th hole, Huntington flew his second shot off the cart path and into a waste bunker.
He settled for bogey and saw the lead shrink to just one stroke with five holes to play. It was the first time he checked the scorecard.
“I just wanted to have some reference,” Huntington said.
After taking a peek at where he stood against Kim, Huntington made par on the final five holes, despite going wayward left on the 14th and 16th holes. It was a few tenuous moments for the junior, whose fate was virtually sealed when Kim bogeyed the par-3 15th.
“I just wanted to minimize the damage and get out of here with something close to par,” Huntington said.
For Kim, it was a valiant effort. He knew he had to play his best, and for much of the day, he did just that.
Early on, he striped drives down the fairway and sent approaches to close range time and time again, only to see the birdie putts slip inches by. In the end, the sophomore just came up two strokes short.
“I was pretty satisfied overall,” Kim said. “I just played my game, tried to stay positive and took it shot by shot.”
Huntington was able to team with his younger brother, Eli, in leading the Papermakers to a team title Thursday. Camas finished 42 strokes above second-place Skyview. Eli Huntington went 74-77-151, Evan Chen finished 75-79-154 and Caleb Shira carded a 76-79-155 to put four Camas golfers in the top five.
Skyview finished second and Union rallied to place third in the team race. The top three teams, which feature five golfers each, and the next four individuals advance to bi-districts in the spring.
Individual qualifiers included Battle Ground’s Alex Salanis (79-82-161) and Cade Barker (81-91-172), Camas’ Leo Cassel (86-93-179) and Skyview’s Aidan Smith (94-87-181).