By MATTHEW SHERMAN
It's still early. That's what West Linn's girls golf coach Bob Turnquist keeps telling himself and his players over and over.
And he's right. Nothing is close to being determined yet in the Three Rivers League but, after Monday's mid-district tournament at Stone Creek, the Lions find themselves in an advantageous position.
That position would be first place after the team won the tournament by 12 strokes over Lake Oswego.
'It was great because we'd had a little setback and I lit a little fire under them,' Turnquist said.
West Linn was led by a phenomenal performance from Sharon Shin. The freshman shot an even par 72 for the low round of the afternoon.
And the round could have been even lower. Shin made the turn at two-under par before a rough patch on the back-nine. Shin bogeyed four of five holes but then regrouped quickly.
She chipped in for birdie on the 17th and birdied the 18th to get back to even on her round.
'Sharon was unbelievable because she got a little frustrated but bounced back,' Turnquist said.
Her freshman cohort Morgan Thompson shot 85, a score that was slightly higher than she has been shooting earlier in the year but it was still good enough for a tie for fourth place.
But West Linn's depth would win the day. No. 3 golfer Elie Enderle came in with a solid 98, Sidney Nopson shot an even 100 and Katie Longtain shot 108.
But what Turnquist was most pleased about was how his team reacted after it finished its rounds.
'Every kid came up to me and said 'OK, here's what I need to work on.' They know they have to keep improving every week,' Turnquist said.
It was a good day all around for the Lions as they endured another day of less than ideal weather and handled the switch from a 9-hole event to an 18-hole tournament admirably.
The mid-district tournament counts double in the standings, meaning that the Lions now hold a four-point lead over Lake Oswego atop the Three Rivers League and they lead Lakeridge by 10 points for a berth at the state tournament.
'To me it's a three-team race. We have the outright lead but every tournament is huge,' Turnquist said.
Next up for West Linn is Monday's tournament at OGA in Woodburn which is where the state tournament will be held.
Also on Monday, the West Linn boys came in fifth in an extraordinarily close tournament at Langdon Farms.
The tournament was so close that West Linn finished just six strokes out of first and still came in behind four teams. Just one shot separated second place from third place and third place from fourth.
It was actually one of West Linn's better tournaments of the year from top to bottom as four players shot in the 80s.
Josh Peterson had the low score for his team with an 81. That also marked his lowest score in a league tournament this year.
Matt Percin was close behind with an 83 while Jordan Hongo and Jackson Henniger came in with an 86 and 87 respectively.
Those are all very solid scores when you consider that the low round of the day was a 79 which was shot by three different players.
The team finished with a 337, which happens to be its second lowest team score of the year so far while the winner of the tournament, Lake Oswego, shot 331.
West Linn sits in fifth place in league, just two points behind Oregon City.
The next boys tournament will be held on Monday at Arrowhead.