The way things started for Woodburn senior Cole Beyer in the 4A Showcase golf tournament Tuesday at Trysting Tree Golf Club in Corvallis, it appeared that his high school career would end quietly.
He bogeyed the first hole, and as the front nine unfolded and birdie opportunities kept slipping away, he began to fade on a leader board that included Marist Catholic senior Nick Watts, the 4A champion in 2019.
But everything changed when Beyer finally got a birdie putt to fall on the seventh hole. He also birdied two of the next three holes.
“My confidence just boosted, and I felt like I could make anything,” Beyer said.
Beyer finished with a three-under 68, tied for first place with Tillamook's Elliot Lee and ahead of Marist Catholic's Alec Vendetti (70) and two Seaside players, Carson Kawasoe (71) and Curtis Kunde (72). Beyer and Lee went to a playoff, where Beyer birdied the second hole to win.
For the Colorado Mesa-bound Beyer, who placed fourth in the 4A tournament as a sophomore, the win was the exclamation point on his career.
“It was definitely a goal I had set for myself probably the middle of my sophomore season,” said Beyer, who also plays football and basketball. “To actually see it come into reality is really, really cool, and really, really relieving, almost.”
Woodburn coach Neil Wilhelm could see how much the win meant to Beyer.
“It was kind of what he always dreamed of. It really choked him up,” Wilhelm said. “It's a Cinderella story for him. It's a perfect ending to a fantastic year. The stars aligned. The key was him keeping his composure early on when things just weren't going well.”
In the second playoff hole, Beyer hit a 240-yard drive into a greenside bunker, chipped to within six feet of the hole and buried the birdie putt. Lee settled for a par four.
It marked the first time Beyer had finished ahead of Watts, including two tournaments at Tokatee Golf Club this season. Watts couldn't find his putting stroke Tuesday and finished tied for seventh place with a 76.
“He was definitely the guy to beat,” Beyer said of Watts. “To go out there, while playing with him, and kind of show him what I've got, it was pretty cool. I knew what I had to do was play my own game.”
Said Wilhelm: “Cole definitely entered as the underdog. Nick is a heck of a player.”
Watts, who has signed with San Jose State, shot over par for the first time this season. Two weeks earlier, he shot a 69 at Trysting Tree.
“He's been in the 60s most of the year,” Marist Catholic coach Michael Boettger said. “He just kind of struggled on the greens and was kind of out of rhythm. He was feeling pressure a little bit. He was just a little off. He was definitely trying to do it again and just didn't quite have it.”
Still, Marist Catholic – the 4A champion in 2019 – pulled together and shot a season-low 301 to win the tournament ahead of Woodburn (322), Banks (325) and Valley Catholic (328).
The Spartans finished 10 strokes better than their previous round at Trysting Tree behind Vendetti, Watts, Ben Proulx (77) and Matt Solomon (78).
“The whole team came together pretty well,” said Boettger, who is in his second season at Marist Catholic after 19 seasons at North Eugene. “Most of the year it was kind of playing to this moment. There was definitely a sense of pressure and everything.”
Marist Catholic's girls also finished first Tuesday at Trysting Tree. The Spartans shot 345 to beat Valley Catholic (353), Baker (389) and Seaside (394).
Marist Catholic, which hasn't won a state title since 2002, was led by runner-up Sandhya Vaikuntum (74), Esha Reddy (82), Madison Holmes (86) and McKenna Henderson (103).
Valley Catholic junior Challin Kim – who tied for fifth at state in 2019 – shot 73 to win by one stroke over Vaikuntum. Mazama's Abby Beck (75) and Valley Catholic's Megan Birrell (78) were close behind.
Thurston junior Kellen Humphries and Crescent Valley sophomore Mercedes Marriott took medalist honors in the season-ending 5A tournament Wednesday at Pine Ridge Golf Club in Springfield.
Playing in cold, windy conditions, Humphries shot a four-over 76 to hold off Corvallis' Cole Rueck (78), La Salle Prep's Will Koch (78), Hood River Valley's Ren Tappert (79) and Lebanon's Bryce Horner (79).
“To see Kellen play so well under the conditions, amongst other fierce, experienced and successful competitors, was a real highlight of my coaching career,” Thurston coach Nathan Wiedenmann said. “He is a tremendous competitor and has a really bright future, heading into next year.”
Marriott fired a 39 on the back nine and finished with an 85, pulling away from Crook County's Merritt O'Gorman (92) and Redmond teammates McKenzie Richardson (95) and Klanci Hinton (96) for the girls title.
West Albany's boys, who finished third at state in 2019, outscored Corvallis 346-361 for first place. The Bulldogs haven't won a state title since 2013.
Redmond's girls, who have never won a state championship, placed first. The Panthers shot 393 to finish well ahead of second-place Silverton (422).
Mackin tops deep field
Jesuit senior Owen Mackin came out on top in a tournament featuring many of the top 6A teams in the Portland area – as well as 3A power Oregon Episcopal – at Stone Creek Golf Club in Oregon City on Monday.
Mackin, who has signed with Creighton, shot a 70 to beat Lincoln's Tanner Overby by one stroke. The field included 140 players and 28 teams.
Mountainside's Collin Hodgkinson and Clackamas' Alex Lasko tied for third at 72, and Sunset's Naoki Easterday, Lakeridge's Jake Yim, Lake Oswego's Tanner Frinell and Tigard's Douglas Bailey tied for fifth at 73.
Three-time reigning 6A champion Jesuit and Lake Oswego shared first place at 298. Tigard and Oregon Episcopal tied for third place at 307.