Kellogg senior golfer Kaceelyn Pouttu wants to win her fourth straight Idaho 3A state title, but she wants a few other things even more.
Pouttu wants to help the Wildcats win a team title after nine straight years of state finishes between second and fourth. And she wants coach Simon Miller, who is stepping down after the season, to depart with a state championship.
“It’s definitely way more important to me than a fourth (individual) state title to have that white banner coming back to my school,” Pouttu said. “To be able to come back and see that banner and know I helped with it would be awesome.
“It would be the perfect going-away present for Simon. He definitely deserves it.”
Pouttu says she learned how to walk on a golf course. Miller, who coached the Kellogg boys to a state title in 2005, was probably there to witness it.
“I’ve been able to watch her since she was a toddler, being a neighbor and friend of her dad, Tommy. I’ve played a lot of golf with her dad,” Miller said. “I think when she was old enough she probably had a club in her hand instead of a pacifier.”
Pouttu, who carries a 3.993 grade-point average and has signed with Weber State, won the last three state titles by 26, 25 and nine strokes. The 3A tournaments for boys and girls are Monday and Tuesday at The Highlands in Post Falls.
Pouttu earned her fourth district title earlier this week with a 74 at The Highlands.
“She’s just been in so many competitions since she was little,” Miller said. “The thing that impresses me the most is she plays her best golf when the pressure is on, which is extremely difficult to do in golf when you have the adrenaline and nerves.”
Pouttu’s game is rounding into shape for state.
“This year I feel like I’ve been mainly focusing on getting our girls pumped up and prepared for state because we have a really good shot of winning it,” she said. “I struggled earlier in the season. Once I got my swing straightened up, I’ve been shooting pretty decent scores.”
Mixed bag for Vikings
Coeur d’Alene has had a couple of interesting weeks. The boys won the prestigious Inland Empire Tournament with a score of 307 at the Spokane Country Club. Kyle Kaufman, John Duffin and Chase Lincoln carded 75s.
One day later, Lewiston upset the Vikings for the 5A Region I title at the Lewiston Country Club. It was the first time this season Coeur d’Alene had lost to the Bengals. CdA, Lewiston and Post Falls qualified for state, which will be held Monday and Tuesday at the Lewiston Country Club.
“We didn’t play horrible, we didn’t play great,” Coeur d’Alene coach Bryan Duncan said. “The bottom line is we qualified and we get another shot at it.”
Lewiston’s Cody Schumacher and Seth Miller and Post Falls’ Trevor Fedele shared medalist honors with 75s.
The Vikings figure to contend for the state title. They haven’t won it since 2004 when Duncan and Darrell Hull were co-coaches.
“I think we have five seconds since then,” Duncan said. “We’ve trophied each year, but we haven’t got the blue (first-place) trophy. We’ve got lots of reds (seconds). We’ve had a lot of good teams and players, but the competition is good across the state.”
In the girls regional, Lewiston and Post Falls qualified for state. Coeur d’Alene was without three top players because they would have exceeded the 10-match limit.
“My assistant coach who was helping with the girls was under the impression that when we went to Lewiston on April 29th it was a practice round,” Duncan said. “I guess we should have checked it out a little quicker. The second our fifth girl teed off at the Lakeland Invitational (May 2) they called in to (the IHSAA). It is what it is, but I feel bad for the girls.”
UI hosts 4A tourneys
Lakeland’s boys and girls qualified for the 4A state tournament Monday and Tuesday at the University of Idaho course in Moscow.
Lakeland junior Derek Bayley is the defending state champion.