The Redmond High girls’ golf team, undefeated since 2003 in 4A Kingco matches, finished strong on Wednesday to place fourth at the 36-hole state tournament at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco.
The Mustangs finished with 72.5 team points, which trailed Newport (78.5), Lewis and Clark (80) and 4A champion Bellarmine Prep (85.5).
With perfect course conditions on Tuesday and a talented state field, birdies were flying and the Mustangs were struggling to keep up.
After the first round, three of the four Redmond golfers made the cut, led by sophomore Keira O’Hearn with a 5-over-par 77. But the Mustangs were on the outside looking in, as Kelly Kennewick (80) and Stephanie Schoeppal (81) were 12 and 13 shots behind first-round leader Chessey Thomas, who fired a 68.
The Mustangs’ easy-going coach, Jake Crowley, didn’t put undue pressure on the girls, simply asking them to try and match the scores they put up during Tuesday’s play.
They did that, and then some, as each girl improved during the pressure-packed final round, led by a fantastic round of 74 by O’Hearn, vaulting her up to eighth place.
“She kinda did what she did during that league match at Newcastle when she shot (1-under) 35, she played lights-out,” said Crowley.
In fact, both O’Hearn (77-74-151) and Schoeppal (81-78-159) crushed their personal-best scores for an 18-hole round of golf at the state tournament. Kennewick (80-79-159) shot two consistent rounds to tie with Schoeppal, finishing in a tie for 20th.
“We laid out the best-case scenario for them, and they just followed that to perfection,” Crowley noted. “It was exactly what we talked about the night before.”
PEAKING IN PASCO
Although the Mustangs have had a year to remember with close victories over Newport and Eastlake, keeping their 7-year winning streak alive, it’s no secret the the team peaked at the right time, no doubt due to their grueling league schedule and the difficult courses they play.
“They play more competitive holes than any other team in the state, and that paid off,” Crowley admitted. “They were prepared, they deserved to be there, and they improved more than any other team on the second day. They called on all those holes and all those experiences.”
O’Hearn created some buzz earlier this year with an incredible 1-under 35 at the Golf Club at Newcastle, leading her team to a win against Newport, but she was quick to say that her 74 at state tops that effort.
“It shows you can go the entire way… and that the Newport score wasn’t just a one-time thing, like a one-hit wonder,” explained O’Hearn, adding that she was excited just to be at state and “super-pumped” to make the cut. “It shows that I do have that potential and that I can perform at that level for 18 holes.”
Crowley noted that although his team placed fourth, they celebrated after the tournament as if they had won, due to the sheer challenge of placing with only three athletes in the cut line.
“With two juniors and a sophomore making the cut … we’re more excited than we ever have been,” Crowley said. “It was a lot of fun, and watching them play, they just stayed really consistent and didn’t get flustered.”
The Mustangs, by placing fourth, have now added yet another trophy to display in the Redmond High case, which will soon need an expansion as the powerhouse program continues to rake in the hardware.
“We are so excited,” O’Hearn said. “We were thrilled just to place, and with three people that’s pretty hard. Everyone shot in the 70s, and we couldn’t have asked for anything more.