RICHLAND — Walla Walla Community College’s Lauren Victorino finished the Hawk Invitational tied with Madi Brown of North Idaho atop the individual leaderbaord here at Horn Rapids Golf Course on Monday.
Victorino needed only 77 strokes — five over par — including four birdies to complete the course before squaring off with Brown in a sudden death playoff at the first hole.
However a long approach resulted in Victorino two-putting, while Brown hit the green to score a par 4 and clinch the first-place medal.
“Lauren played her career best today,” Walla Walla coach Mike Rostollan said. “After good drives, Lauren’s approach was just long, finding the back bunker. Madi hit the green but was away, so putted first. From 40 feet she lagged to five feet short. Lauren had a terrible downhill lie to a short hole and no green to work with. She left her first shot in the bunker, blasted the next one out onto the green and two-putted for six.”
Victorino led Walla Walla’s team to seventh place out of eight after two rounds, including Sunday at Canyon Lakes in Kennewick. The Warriors together scored a 552, trailing sixth-place Olympic by 24.
The Warriors cut 44 strokes in the second round. Korbie Jenks shot an 81 with two birdies, Hannah Pond added an 96 and Madi Woody turned in a 106.
“It was fun to see Lauren play so well and be that close to winning outright her first college golf tournament,” Rostollan said. “This will inspire evermore confidence in her and perhaps boost her to the next level. I know her new coach next year at Arizona Christian likes what he’s seeing.”
Meanwhile, the Walla Walla men turned in the best second-round score with a 303, and finished the tournament in third place with a 617, only two back of runner-up North Idaho and eight behind champion Bellevue.
North Idaho ended up with second place due to the disqualifications of Ross Gilbert and Sean Langham, who had both been instrumental in their team’s first-round lead.
“Both Ross and Sean were disqualified from the tournament for practicing on the golf course the night before,” Rostollan said. “Both were in contention to win and their scores, had they counted, easily put NIC in first. That’s golf, and the rules are very clear about practicing on the tournament golf course once the competition starts.”
Dillon George led Walla Walla with a 2-over-par 74, one ahead of teammate Joe Reed. Both eagled the 18th hole.
“The pleasant return of Dillon George will help the team immensely,” Rostollan said. “His steady, no drama 74 shows he’s rounding into form.”
Tucker Keyes birdied twice as he added a 76 to the Walla Walla score. He ended up in a tie for fourth place on the individual leaderboard, only three strokes behind medalist Davis Gullikson of Olympic.
Lars Malinen shot a 78 with four birdies for Walla Walla.
Together, the Warriors cut 11 strokes from the first round.
“They had a chance to win it, but errors late cost them,” Rostollan said. “Tucker loses two balls on his first couple holes, down the middle of the fairway. Talk about bad luck, and he stills finishes tied for fourth. Tuck’s time is coming.”
Walla Walla missed other chances to sneak further up the standings.
“Lars loses a ball on the third hole, follows it up with an unplayable lie,” Rostollan said. “Joe loses one, but keep an eye on Joe. Lost balls and unplayables, eight strokes worth, was the difference. That, and the two NIC players DQed from the day’s play.”
Walla Wala also had Zac Adams shooting an 83 with a birdie, while Brayden Weaver shot a 94.
“The wind blew like it does in the Tri-Cities, making Horn Rapids that much tougher a golf course,” Rostollan said. “Recently aerified and top-dressed greens actually received shots and rolled fairly well. Signs of a hard winter were visible everywhere.”
Horns Rapids hosted the second round on short notice.
“Originally we were scheduled to play West Richland in round two, but that golf course was flooded to the point of unplayable,” Rostollan said. “Horn Rapids was able to get the colleges out there on short notice, so there we played. It caused a Rules Of Golf issue that disqualified the top two North Idaho players.”
The Warriors next play another league tournament in two weeks, April 23-24, at Green River on the Druids Glen golf course.
“The extra week of preparation will strengthen our resolve,” Rostollan said.