The Seaside boys golf team successfully defended their title at The Dalles Invitational, held March 22 at The Dalles Country Club.
The Gulls shot 335 to outpace second place St. Helens by 32 strokes. The Dalles took third with a 368. The only other 4A team in the field was La Grande, which shot 400.
Sophomore Curtis Kunde overcame Seaside's highest score on the front nine by posting three birdies on the back nine for a one-under par score.
His 79 was good enough to win medalist honors, the only golfer in the field to break 80. Braden Bell of La Grande was second with an 81.
Seaside finished with all five players in the top 10 individually, as Samson Sibony and Carson Kawasoe both shot 85, Mason Shamion carded an 86 and Connor Merrell shot 87.
“I like coming to this tournament because it helps the players become creative shot-makers and tests their mental toughness,” said Seaside coach Jim Poetsch. “On this course, you really need to have a plan for every hole, then re-evaluate that plan if you don’t hit shots nearly perfect. Players constantly have to be creative to score well.”
The Seaside golfers “were not impressed with their scores, but they don’t know the history of this tournament,” he said. “While this year’s field was not as tough, the course still was. The score they shot today beat both state champion teams and was the second best score, by four strokes, to only the 2006 team.”
Seaside's 2006 team “had the lowest scoring average of any team I’ve coached,” he said. “Curtis did a great job of overcoming some adversity early in his round. He started the day five-over par after two holes. After pars on the next three holes, he had a stretch of four straight bogeys to end the front nine. He then turned it on and went from a non-counting score to the tournament medalist.”
Seaside returns to Cowapa League play against defending state champion Valley Catholic on April 1 at Meriwether National Golf Course.
Gulls defeat Astoria
GEARHART — It was a Clatsop Clash on the golf course March 20.
On a near-perfect day at Gearhart Golf Links — as perfect as it gets in March on the north coast — the Seaside boys golf team was living up to expectations.
Ranked No. 1 in the state in a pre-season coaches poll, the Gulls opened their season with a victory over the Fishermen, 313-402.
The 313 team score represented Seaside's lowest score since the Gulls' 2015 state championship season.
Three Seaside golfers scored in the 70's, with freshman Carson Kawasoe leading the way with a one-over par 73 to take medalist honors in his first high school round.
Sophomore teammate Curtis Kunde was two strokes back at 75, a career low. Seaside senior Samson Sibony also had a career-low with a 79, and senior Connor Merrell shot 86 to round out the team scoring. Mason Shamion shot 88 as the Gulls' fifth player.
Taylor Palmberg led Astoria with a 93, followed by Dylan Althiede-Nielson (98), Josh Olson (101) and Jacob Ficken (110).
Kawasoe began his day by driving over the first green, a 312-yard par four, then getting up and down for his first birdie of the day. He ended the front nine with three straight birdies to finish the side two-under par.
The freshman added two more birdies on the back en route to his 73. Kunde and Merrell had no birdies on the front, but both managed to finish the front at two-over.
Kunde carded three birdies on the back to finish the day three-over. Sibony ended the front side with putts for eagle on both the eighth and ninth holes. He birdied both to get back to even par on the front.
“I’ve been itching for this season to start since last year’s state tournament,” said Seaside coach Jim Poetsch, who led the Gulls to state titles in 2014 and '15. “All five guys have put in a ton of work in the offseason and it showed today. After nine holes we were only two-over par as a team.
“We gave back quite a few strokes on the back but still came in with a really solid team score for the first tournament of the year. This should be a really fun year and I think we will see some days where all five guys get in the 70's.”
He added, “as hard as these guys work, we should be in great shape come May.”