Led by a stellar performance by senior team captain Alex Mroz, the Redmond Mustangs finished in second place behind two-time defending champion Eastlake at Tuesday’s Kingco 4A Medalist tournament at Snohomish Golf Club.
Eastlake standout Kevin Penner fired a 3-under-par 69 to claim district medalist honors, followed by Woodinville’s Jarrett Foote with a 1-under 71 and third-place Mroz, who shot even-par 72.
Eastlake’s stroke total of 387 — the top five individual scores from Tuesday’s round — was five better than Redmond, which finished at 392.
It was the third straight year that Redmond finished second behind Eastlake.
The top 36 players from all schools returned on Wednesday to compete in the 4A Kingco District II tournament to determine overall point totals and see which golfers will advance to the 4A state championships next May.
Five out of the six Redmond golfers — Alex Mroz and his brother Charlie (75), Kyle Gysler (78), freshman Lyle Rudnicki (83) and Alex Abbruzza (84) — advanced to Wednesday’s play, with the Mroz brothers punching tickets to state.
Gysler struggled to an 84 to finish at 18-over 162 to tie Rudnicki, who improved to a 79 in his second round.
Abbruzza, who shot his worst round of the year on Tuesday, made amends on Wednesday by firing a 3-over 75 to force his way into a playoff for the 14th-16th spots. With a par on the third playoff hole, the senior took the 15th qualifying spot ahead of Eastlake’s Chris Kobak. Depending on allowances from other 4A divisions, there will be between 12-16 qualifiers from districts invited to the state tournament.
If there are fewer than 15, Abbruzza will be an alternate.
Playing in the next-to-last group, Charlie Mroz sealed his ticket to state with a 79 on Wednesday and a 10-over 154 total, good for 10th place. Charlie was only bested on the Redmond squad by his older brother, Alex, who held his own playing in a remarkably tough, pressure-filled threesome with Penner, who shot a 6-under-par 66 to win the tournament, and Foote.
“The person I’m most proud of is Alex Mroz,” said Redmond head golf coach Chris Zimmerman. “He played two brilliant players today and hung right in there, shooting 71 (on Wednesday) and 72 (on Tuesday). He really came on for us at the end of the year.”
Starting Wednesday’s play three shots back of Penner, Mroz figured the best way to approach his round was to fly under the radar and play solid, mistake-free golf, which he did.
“I was just kinda standing back watching them go at it, they were making a bunch of birdies,” Alex said. “I just made 31 pars out of 36 holes, so I was pretty steady.”
Now comes the seven-month layoff until the 4A state tournament, which will be held at Canyon Lakes Golf Club in Kennewick. Rules prohibit high school golf coaches from assisting players with their game during the offseason, but Zimmerman says he’ll be back in the spring to make sure his boys are ready to perform.
“After their season’s over, we have to stop coaching until a couple weeks before state, but we’ll get back and get some practice in before heading over to the Tri-Cities,” Zimmerman said.
“Alex and Charlie live at the range at Bear Creek, so that’s probably what they’ll be up to.”
Alex said he is excited about playing at state after barely missing the cut last year.
“I didn’t make it to state last year, I was in the same situation as Alex Abbruzza (on the “bubble” as a potential alternate), but I’m excited,” said Alex. “At least it’ll be dry over there on the other side of the mountains.”
Tim Watanabe can be reached at email@example.com or by calling (425) 867-0353, ext. 5054