WOODLAND, Wash. – Sierra Bezdicek didn’t have the best start to her fourth state golf tournament, but the three-time state runner-up finished strongly to grab a one-stroke lead at the midway point of the girls State 3A golf event.
Making her fourth state tournament appearance, the Mt. Spokane senior finished 4 under par on the back nine at Lewis River Golf Course to finish Wednesday’s first round at 1-under 72. She leads Mercer Island freshman Rachel Fujitani by one stroke and junior Sarah Rhee from Ingraham of Seattle by two strokes.
The tournament concludes with 18 holes today. Bezdicek and Fujitani will tee off last, at 9:40 a.m.
Bezdicek and Lewis and Clark’s Sierra Kersten, playing in the girls State 4A tournament, are the only locals in the lead after the first day.
A year ago, Bezdicek finished second at state on this course to Columbia River’s Chloe Bartek, who golfs for Sacramento State. As a sophomore, she finished second to her sister, Savanna. As a freshman, she finished one shot back.
On Wednesday, it took a late flurry of birdies to get Bezdicek the lead. Starting with a birdie on the par-4 14th, she birdied four of the last five holes.
“I made a good birdie putt on that (14th) and that got me in the birdie mode,” Bezdicek said.
Bezdicek, who will join her sister on Northern Arizona’s team in the fall, said her focus today will be to produce one more consistent state tourney round.
“I want to hit my irons a little bit better,” she said. “I had to go up and down a few too many times. I just want to get on the green in regulation and see if I can make more birdies …
“It’s definitely surreal that it is my last year. I feel like I’ve been doing this for so long. But it’s the same approach. I just want to put up a good score that I’m proud of and hopefully our team does well, too.
“That’s what we’re really shooting for.”
With five golfers among the top 21 and two in the top five, Mt. Spokane is well positioned to win the team championship. Megan Billeter shot an 82 and is tied for fifth place; Brianna Jensen shot an 87 and is tied for 13th; and Cailin Spencer and Hailey Warren both shot 89 for a share of 21st.
Defending champion Kersten opened with a 73 and leads Katie Lee of Central Kitsap by two shots at Club Green Meadows in Vancouver.
Kersten, who had the benefit of being in the first group to tee off, was pleased with her round and that she beat the bad weather that moved in.
“It was OK,” Kersten said. “I played well and I had some bad holes. I was sinking putts and having fun. It didn’t rain, so that was good.”
Gonzaga Prep’s Kelly Hooper is in sixth after a 77. Mead’s Lydia Kim (82) is tied for 15th.
Tanner Comes of Ferris is in fifth place after opening with a 72 at Camas Meadows Golf course. Comes trails leader Sean Yi of Thomas Jefferson by three shots. Ferris’ Eric Ansett is tied for 19th at 77. G-Prep’s Michael Brutocau is another shot back.
Mt. Spokane’s Austin Meng opened with a 76 and is tied for 11th at Tri-Mountain Golf Course in Ridgefield. Spencer Tibbits of Fort Vancouver shot 70 and holds a one-stroke lead. Mt. Spokane’s Sam Stiles carded a 79, one shot better than University’s Nicholas Dixon and Shadle Park’s Phillip Flexer.
Clarkston’s Grace Frazier is tied for 12th after opening with a 94 at The Classic in Spanaway. Fife’s Kendall Gray holds a three-shot lead after firing a 79. Pullman’s Nicole Welter (96) is tied for 14th.
Clarkston’s Joe Baldeck opened with a 75 and stands in eighth place at Chambers Bay in University Place. Teammate Cody Culletto is another shot back, while East Valley’s Ryan Brown is tied for 11th at 78. Matt Maresse of Sammamish shot a 65 and leads by six shots.
Goldendale’s Bree Wandersheid took a two-stroke lead by opening with a 76 at Lake Spanaway Golf Course. Second-place Lauryn Keating of Elma is three shots ahead of Hannah Roh of King’s.
Freeman’s Ryan Maine fired a 78 and is tied for 13th at Lake Spanaway Golf Course. Zillah’s Derrick Phelps and Hoquiam’s John Sand are co-leaders at 73, one shot ahead of the field. Chewelah’s Clint Long shot an 81.
Emily Baumgart of DeSales opened with a 73 and holds a 17-shot lead on Skyler Kersten of St. George’s at Oakbrook Golf Course in Lakewood. Northwest Christian’s Sadie Garner (95) is in third place, followed by Wilbur-Creston’s Liz Richardson (97) and Colfax’s McKenna Davis (98).
Sawyer Spackman of St. George’s (83) is in sixth place and teammate Jimmy Psomas shot an 84 at Oakbrook GC. La Conner’s Brendan McLeod shot a 78 and leads Liberty Christian’s Isaiah Ojeda by one shot. Colfax’s Hunter Weitze shot 85, one better than Lind-Ritzville/Sprague’s Logan Morley.