As the Bezdicek sisters anxiously waited for the final group to come off the 18th hole, they quietly went off to the range – matching bags in tow – and sophomore Sierra vocalized the obvious question.
“Do you think this is really about to happen?” she asked older sister Savana. Sure enough, just as if it had been scripted, it happened.
The Mt. Spokane girls golf standouts finished first and second following a one-hole, sudden-death playoff in the final round of the State 3A tournament on a cloudy Wednesday afternoon at Esmeralda Golf Course.
After finishing tied atop the leaderboard, younger sister Sierra – who shot a 71 – won by saving par on the par-4 first hole to improve on last year’s second-place finish.
Savana – a Northern Arizona University-bound senior and the 2010 state champion – pulled her putt for par wide and bogeyed the playoff hole after shooting a 72 in the final round for a two-day total of 146.
The Wildcats finished second as a team, behind Hanford, for the second straight year.
“I had no idea it was going to go down like this,” Savana said. “When neither one of us was in the final group after yesterday … we just wanted to go for some solid rounds today, and it just so happened that we tied, which is so weird.”
“Maybe that’s just destiny and how it’s supposed to be – you have to win it as a sophomore,” Sierra said. “For me it was the best outcome, and I’m really excited, but it’s hard to say that because of Savana. It’s too bad someone had to lose, but we’ve gone through this before.”
That fact wasn’t surprising, although it had been seven years since they last found themselves in the scenario.
When Savana and Sierra were 11 and 9 years old, respectively, they went to a sudden-death playoff at a Washington State Junior Golf Association event. They went five holes deep in the playoff before the younger Bezdicek won her first trophy.
“It was this itty-bitty cup, and she was so excited,” their father said. “But the thing is, they’re not competitors. It’s not like that. They really root for each other out there.”
This was obvious, as both sisters had mixed feelings following the conclusion.
Sierra teed off first, pulling her drive left of the fairway, while Savana’s drive landed down the middle. Savana’s second shot gave her a chance for a 10-foot birdie putt, but she pulled her first and second putts wide to finish with the bogey. Sierra chipped her third shot from the rough and sank her first putt to save par.
“My putting was definitely my downfall in this tournament,” Savana said. “I three-putted the first and second hole today, and it was a bummer because I was at the same spot at No. 1 earlier and I pulled my putt again to three-putt.
“It would have been great to win my senior year, but it’s cool in the sense that I also won my sophomore year and I’m very happy for my sister.”
Heading into the final round, both sisters were apprehensive.
After the first round there was a three-way tie for first at 73, while Savana’s 74 had her tied for fourth. Sierra was tied for sixth, with a 75, after Tuesday.
“They fought hard to grind it out today,” Wildcats coach Eleen Northcutt said. “We figured the three that shot a 73 would do similar to that or better, but when we heard the scores at turn today we knew it was a different game. I didn’t tell them that, though.”
She didn’t need to.
Sierra turned up the heat with three straight birdies on the back nine, beginning at hole 14. Savana, who turned in a consistent round aside from her putting, had a spectacular birdie on 17, chipping in a 25-yard shot from the left edge of the green.
“This could not have been scripted any better,” Northcutt said. “It gets a little tough to talk about. To see Sierra turn it around from last year, and all that she overcame to do that, and to see them both peak at the right time.”
“Nobody out there understands the pressure these girls were under. They had a plan, and they succeeded.”
North Central’s Bridgid Rypien, the only other local golfer to make the cut after the first day, shot a 92 to finish 42nd overall with a two-day total of 181.