With the Lake Oswego boys golf team playing at a level above everyone else in the Three Rivers League, it seems the rest of the conference is left to fight over the lone remaining berth in the state tournament. And West Linn coach Bob Turnquist believes his squad has a good chance to be that other team.
Unfortunately, the Lions didn't show much of that potential in the league's season-opening tournament, which was held Monday at Stone Creek Golf Course in Oregon City.
As expected, Lake Oswego won the tourney with a 308 team score. Lakeridge took second with a 323 mark while Clackamas was third at 333 and West Linn wound up fourth at 339.
It was a day when everyone on the West Linn varsity team shot a higher-than-expected score. In fact, no one on the team broke 80.
'But that's over with now. I don't want them thinking about that tournament any more,' Turnquist said.
Instead, the coach wants his players focusing on the positive things that will help make their games better. Many of them have already shown that they can score well in practice. Now, they just need to do it in competition.
'We are very good together as 11 guys,' the coach said. 'Now, they have to figure out how to be good individually.'
Turnquist believes his squad, which is led by senior Kevin Hoffman and four juniors (Jake Lewis, Matt Percin, Jackson Henninger and Ryan Willett), could have beaten Clackamas by 10 strokes on Monday.
'And they knew it,' Turnquist said. 'But I'm not concerned … It's only week one.'
One thing Turnquist won't have to worry about is the attitudes of his players.
'I'm pleased with our attitude,' the coach said. 'We have great team unity.'
And the players also have great initiative. Collectively, the 11 players (including junior varsity members) decided to participate in team workouts twice each week in addition to their golf practices. On the first day of the extra workouts, the players ran two miles and then ran wind sprints. On Tuesday, they played a football game on the stadium field.
'It was so much fun,' coach said.
Turnquist, who is the top teaching pro at Oregon Golf Club, obviously knows talent when he sees it and he believes his Lions squad is good enough to claim the league's second post-season berth.
'I think if we just play, we'll make state,' Turnquist said. 'We just have to get them believing it.'
However, beating Lake Oswego, which is capable of scoring in the low 290s, would be a difficult task.
'Lake Oswego is clearly the best team,' Turnquist said. 'But it seems no one else wants to take second.'
So, why not West Linn?
West Linn's next league match will be on April 2 at Waverley Country Club. Districts will be held at Stone Creek on May 2 and 3 and the state tournament will be held on May 14 and 15.