Sports -- May 24, 2007

Published on Thu, May 24, 2007
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by Jack Kintner

Bland eighth after first day of state tournament

Blaine seniors Karissa Bland and Katie Richardson both made it to the state golf tournament, played this year at Semiahmoo, but when the dust cleared after the first day, only Bland went on to the second day. Richardson finished with a 102, just five strokes off the first day’s qualifying score of 97.

“Everything was working well except for my fairway irons,” said Richardson, adding that a field like this with some very good players leaves little room for mistakes. She got par on three, six, 12 and 15, all par threes that don’t normally require a fairway iron but ballooned on the longer holes, especially the four par fives.

Richardson, who lives next to the Loomis Trail golf course, was philosophical, and said she plans to continue playing after graduation but isn’t yet sure about being on a team next year when she enrolls at Whatcom Community College. “It’s still fun to play, though,” she said.

For Bland it was her putting that seemed to desert her at just the wrong moments, but she ended up carding an 87, good enough to tie her for eighth place out of 80 golfers with North Mason’s Amy Gastineau.
Bland began with a booming 235-yard blast off the first tee Tuesday morning, but once the ball got onto the green her normally rock-steady putts began to waver. Her fairway and approach game kept her in the money, though.

“She really hit the ball well the first day,” said her dad, Daniel Bland, “and in fact I’ve never seen her hit it better. She had a wedge in her hand most of the day and seems to be peaking at just the right time.”

Bland began the back nine on Tuesday with a tee shot that came within 175 yards of the pin on the par four 361-yard tenth, a long straight hole guarded by deep bunkers on the right, and before that hit her drive over the cart path on seven, a rule-of-thumb measurement for a good shot off the tee. On Wednesday she began with a bogey on two and blew up to a nine on the par four eighth, but other than that was one-under for the round, keeping her well into contention. She got her birdie on the 354 yard par 4 fifth hole and ended up with a 43 for the front nine.

The tournament finished after press time, so look for the conclusion next week.

Dudley seven strokes back after first day

Blaine senior John Dudley, playing in his fourth state golf tournament, managed to overcome a double bogey to score 77 on his first day’s round at the Bellingham Golf and Country Club.

He ended the day in a six-way tie for 17th, seven strokes off the pace, a two-under 70 recorded by three golfers who tied for first.

“I felt good about the round,” Dudley said, “even though I did have some problems, putting it into the parking lot off the ninth fairway.”

Dudley managed to avoid troubles on Bellingham’s notorious second and seventh holes, the first being a tough drive to an even tougher green and the second a long 527-yard par five.

“John had some troubles on six and nine,” said head coach Steve Barthlow, “but he’s come back real well from that with a bird and a lot of pars. He’s in very good shape for today.”

Dudley began the second day well with a booming 265-yard drive off the first tee, easily outdistancing the two other boys in his threesome, Blake Blakey of South Whidbey and Lynden’s Dirk Dallas.

The tournament concluded after press time.