Gonzaga Prep and Central Valley might just take the Greater Spokane League 4A boys golf title chase down to the final hole.
The teams share first place with 38 points after four GSL tournaments. Both have won twice and finished second twice. The margin of victory between the two programs has been eight, one, six and five strokes.
“It absolutely is going to (come down to the wire),” G-Prep coach Dennis Dougherty said. “It’s always within a stroke per guy at most, and that’s always fun for players.”
The championship will be determined Wednesday at Deer Park in the final league tournament. Coaches have discussed a tiebreaker – in case both teams shoot the same score – that would feature the top four players from each school in a one-hole playoff. If the tie remains after the first hole, the eight would play a second hole.
G-Prep returned most of its key players, including Tommy Kimmel, Hayden Gamache, Will Reeves and Nathan Plaster from last year’s squad that captured the State 4A championship by a whopping 71-point margin.
CV has a deep team led by senior Riley Hadley, sophomores Garrett Packebush and Brayden Miles, and freshman Tyler Jackson.
Mead has a solid hold on third place with 31 points. With the state’s switch this season to a team-score format, the top three 4A GSL schools will tangle with the Mid-Columbia Conference’s top three at MeadowWood for District 8’s three state tournament allocations. There is still an avenue for top individuals not on state-qualifying teams to make it to state.
The State 4A tournament for boys will be held May 21-22 at Qualchan with 4A girls at Hangman Valley.
Mt. Spokane is in first place in 3A boys and girls.
Individual title up for grabs: The GSL boys player of the year race is nearly as close as the team competition.
It’s decided by a player’s top four scores in five GSL tournaments, meaning the worst score is dropped if they’ve participated in every event. That gives numerous players an opportunity to walk away with POY honors, depending on their performance Wednesday at Deer Park.
G-Prep’s Kimmel has been the steadiest player and has the best overall score at 4 over with rounds of 71, 73, 73 and 71. Shadle Park senior Sam Pauly (72, 75, 74, 74) is second at 11 over. Mead senior Zane Mularski (73, 72, 81, 70) is next at 12 over, followed by CV’s Hadley (74, 71, 73, 79) and G-Prep’s Gamache (74, 71, 73, 79) at 13 over.
“It is very much wide open,” Dougherty said. “Our guys, a lot of CV’s guys and Sam and Zane are right in there.”
On the mend: Several of the GSL’s best players have been slowed by injuries this spring, including G-Prep’s Plaster (hip), Mt. Spokane seniors Gunnar Knutson (back) and Landon Spencer (back), and CV girls senior standout Courtney Jackson (mono).
The Weber State-bound Knutson was the league’s player of the year in 2018.
G-Prep freshman Matt Durfin, sidelined by a knee injury, returned to play in Monday’s GSL tournament.