Led by a stellar performance from Overlake senior Alyson Peters, the Owls captured the 1A state golf title at North Bellingham Golf Course at the two-day tournament Tuesday and Wednesday.
Despite having just three players qualify for the tournament and only two make the final day’s cut, Overlake head golf coach Shawn Farmer believed her team still had a chance to win.
The Owls, who finished with 31 points, edged out Charles Wright Academy, which end up with 27.5 points.
“I felt like we did, because there were teams that had three or four girls playing,” Farmer said. “But I don’t know if we expected it to happen. I just told them to have fun and enjoy it, especially the two seniors as it’s their last (tournament).”
Peters, who finished with a second-place stroke total of 171, experienced a roller-coaster first round of 84, marred by a quadruple-bogey eight on the par-4 15th. The four-year member of the golf team was able to overcome adversity with back-to-back birdies on 16 and 17, and a par on 18 left her only four shots behind eventual champion Kelli Bowers of Chelan heading into the final day. Overlake senior Kelly Nieman finished 15th with a two-round stroke total of 204.
“She hit the ball really well, and the course played very difficult especially (Wednesday),” Farmer said of Peters’ performance. “I’m really proud that she held it together, kept a good attitude about it, stayed pretty solid the whole time … she is definitely competitive, determined, above anything, really focused on the team.”
Soft-spoken and humble, Peters would rather talk about her teammates than her own personal achievements.
“I’m really excited for the team, said Peters of helping bring the team championship to Overlake. “Anything to help the team — and I’m really happy Jessica Elliot made it to state, I’m really proud of her.”
In fact, Elliot, a sophomore, was practically brand-new to golf prior to the season, showing how vital three-year coach Farmer has been to helping her players learn the game and improve.
“Shawn is probably the reason I am here at state,” Peters said. “She keeps me focused when I’m practicing, calms me down when I’m upset, and always knows what to say. She’s a really good golfer too. They always say you should learn from the best.”
Peters said she plans “to keep golf more of a fun thing,” and discontinue playing competitive golf while she attends the University of Washington business school in the fall, but she still admits it will be difficult to leave the program and all the memories she has shared with the girls during the past four years.
“It’ll be very hard. I’m going to miss the team … and I’ll definitely miss Shawn,” she said. “We’ll keep in touch, and maybe I’ll come back next season and cheer them on.”
Likewise for Farmer, it will be difficult to lose a player that has shown such poise and leadership over the years.
“It’ll be an adjustment. This year I had a freshman and sophomore that both soaked up leadership, they really understand it,” Farmer said. “It will be a loss, but at the same time they’ve left a mark where the next two will build up to that and take on that leadership role.”
Tim Watanabe can be reached at email@example.com or at (425) 867-0353, ext. 5054.