It was the kind of weather – rainy, windy and cold – that sends most golfers to the clubhouse in search of shelter.
It didn’t bother the Kellogg girls team one bit. The Wildcats, behind three-time state champion Kaceelyn Pouttu’s 77 and the best round of Mercades de Young’s life – two days after a visit to the emergency room – built a 54-stroke lead after Monday’s first round of the 3A state tournament at The Highlands in Post Falls.
Kellogg shot 347, believed to be a school record, in pursuit of its first state title. Defending champion Weiser, which beat Kellogg by four shots last year, and Marsh Valley are tied for second. Pouttu, who has won the last two state titles by a combined 51 shots, takes a four-shot lead over Snake River’s Hannah Murdock into today’s final round.
“They’re North Idaho tough,” Kellogg coach Simon Miller said. “I got a bit nostalgic because in 2005 when my boys (team) won it, this was what the day was like. There were people in the pro shop saying we shouldn’t have played and my boys were ready to go.”
Pouttu played her best golf when the weather turned nasty, but that’s not a surprise. In her freshman year, she shot a second-day 79 at The Links to earn her first state title in conditions she described as “way worse” than Monday.
Pouttu double-bogeyed No. 2 when her punch shot hit a tree and redirected her ball out of bounds. She played the front side in 4-over par, finishing just as the weather turned really nasty.
“If it’s raining (at practice), we play,” she said. “It takes most players out of their game because they just diminish mentally. I feel like I should play as good as when the weather is totally fine.”
Pouttu birdied No. 11 with a nifty approach within 6 feet. She saved par on 12 with a nice recovery from the left rough and a chip shot that nearly found the hole. Her tee shot on the 136-yard par 3 14th nestled 6 feet from the cup, but her birdie putt slid over the right edge of the cup.
De Young went to the emergency room Saturday night experiencing severe pain in her side.
“I got a text with a picture of her arm with an IV,” Miller said. “My blood pressure, I almost had to go to the emergency room.”
Doctors ruled out kidney stones and settled on a muscle issue. She rested Sunday, then shot an 84.
“I was hitting my driver really good at the beginning,” said de Young, whose previous best score was a 92. “My fairway shots were right on and I two-putted all day.”
Jessi Gibbons (88), Payton McKinley (98) and Darby Kohn (106) rounded out Kellogg’s scores.
Shelley’s boys, led by Keifer Higham’s and Jason Hathaway’s 74s, shot 313. Buhl, paced by Cooper Felton’s 74, is second at 322. Jesse Lambert’s 76 led Kellogg, which is in sixth place. Bonners Ferry is ninth.
Boys three-time defending champion Eagle fired a 290 at the Lewiston Country Club to take a 15-stroke lead over Coeur d’Alene and Lewiston. Post Falls is seventh at 334.
Lewiston’s Ben Gleason is in first with a 70, just ahead of Eagle’s Aden Cowley (71) and Colby Dean (72). Coeur d’Alene’s John Duffin (76) is tied for sixth.
Rocky Mountain’s girls took the first-day lead with a 334. Lewiston is second at 350. Post Falls is ninth. Vallivue’s Gabby Barker carded a 70 to take a five-stroke lead over defending champion Amy Hasenoehrl of Lewiston.
Lakeland’s Derek Bayley, the defending champion, shot an 82, his highest score of the season, in difficult weather conditions at the University of Idaho course. Bishop Kelly’s Hunter Ostrum (72) holds the individual lead. Sandpoint’s David Currie shot a 77.
Twin Falls’ boys are in first place with a 311. Middleton and Bishop Kelly are tied for second at 316. Lakeland is in sixth.
Haley Nist’s 75 helped the Bishop Kelly girls (344) take a 17-stroke lead. Sierra Tingey led Lakeland with an 89.
Castleford’s Sierra Harr, despite nasty weather, shot a 2-under 70 at Circling Raven in Worley. Aberdeen shot a team score of 427 to take a one-stroke lead over McCall-Donnelly. McKenzie Rose’s 107 led sixth-place St. Maries.
Salmon’s Jake Barney shot a 75 to lead the boys. Nampa Christian (345) holds a 15-stroke lead. Gavin McCarter led St. Maries, which is in fifth place, with an 87. Wallace is in eighth.