BOYS GOLF - Strong finish helps Hardin tie for runner-up honors at district
by: , Josh Hardin

PORTLAND - Josh Hardin's quest for state could not be denied Friday, May 2, at the Mount Hood Conference boys district golf tournament at Glendoveer.

The Sandy senior earned a spot in the final foursome Friday after tying for the lead with Centennial's Nick Chianello after Thursday's opening round. Chianello quickly took command of the title chase by converting four birdies on the front-nine Friday to take a five-stroke lead at the turn.

Hardin's day quickly turned into a battle to claim runner-up honors, as he went head-to-head against Hood River's Max Gorman through the final 18 holes. After leading most of the way, Hardin fell behind by two strokes after the 15th hole.

But he quickly regained the edge, using his pitching wedge to set up a 2-footer for birdie on the 17th hole. Meanwhile, Gorman missed the fairway wildly off the tee and ended up with a double bogey, giving Hardin a two-stroke lead going into the final hole.

Gorman finished strong with a birdie on the 18th, while Hardin just missed on a moderate putt leaving the players in a tie for second with 151 totals.

'I'm not going to lie. I really wanted to beat Max, but I guess my nerves just got to me a bit on that last putt,' Hardin said. 'Getting to state has been my goal since my freshman year, so it's awesome to finally have it happen as a senior.'

Hardin earned a state berth by a comfortable margin, while a group of five players finished with 156 totals and faced a playoff to decide the final spot.

Hardin's heroics didn't translate to the team tally where Sandy finished seventh in the eight-team field with a 668 total.

Centennial won the tournament with a 636 score, beating regular-season champion Gresham by three strokes. The top five teams were separated by only 10 strokes.

Gresham and Centennial shared the overall season championship, which is a mix of district and regular-season results.

Look for extended golf coverage in the Wednesday, May 7, issue of The Sandy Post.

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