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Lakeridge girls take first tourney

Even though his team had won the first four league tournaments this season, Lake Oswego girls golf coach Mark Shoff was concerned about Lakeridge, which had finished second to the Lakers each time.

Those concerns were justified as Lakeridge won its first league tourney on Monday, beating second-place Lake Oswego by a 192 to 199 margin.

'I was a little worried about Lakeridge and I could see they were coming on,' Shoff said after Monday's tournament at Persimmon Golf Course in Gresham.

Even though Lake Oswego still has a sizeable six-point advantage in the league standings, Lakeridge coach Sandy Sutherland believes his team is peaking at the right time.

'It wouldn't surprise me if we took districts (in two weeks), but I don't think we can get first place (in the standings),' Sutherland said.

It might have been a different story if Lakeridge had started its comeback a week or two earlier. But some of Lakeridge's younger players were just beginning to get their games in order at that point.

The biggest factor on Monday was the play of the Pacers' two front-line players - Taylor Babcock and Melissa Dussin. Babcock fired a 41, which was good enough for second place in the individual scoring behind Lake Oswego's Amy Beth Simanton. And Dussin finished third with a 48.

'Taylor has been playing great and Melissa has been real steady,' Sutherland noted.

Supporting the team's two leaders were Chloe Rossman with a 50 and Kelly Kirk with a 53. Kelly Taucher carded a 58 for the winners but her round was not included in the team's score.

Rossman and Kirk probably would have joined Dussin in the high-40s range if not for a couple of slip-ups. Kirk registered a 13 on the second hole, 'but from then on, she played really well,' Sutherland said. And Rossman's round included an 8 and a 9.

'A little more experience from those girls and I think you're looking at scores in the mid-40s,' the Lakeridge coach said.

It was a struggle for some of the Pacers early in the season, but the team still had a solid grip on the No. 2 spot in the standings, thanks partly to the strong play of Babcock.

Babcock has been making a habit of finishing second, and this time she got more help from her teammates.

'I could see it coming the last couple of weeks,' Sutherland said. 'It's amazing how the season has gone.'

At this point, Sutherland's biggest concern isn't whether his team can pass Lake Oswego in the standings but making sure that they hold off West Linn to earn a trip to state.

'Let's just see where the season takes us,' he said.

Meanwhile, Shoff saw Monday's loss as a positive for his team.

'I think it was a good wake-up call for us. We had gotten complacent … I think we needed this to get us a little more serious,' the Lakers' coach said.

But Simanton didn't seem to be too complacent. With her round of 39 on Monday, Simanton has now claimed medalist honors in all five TRL tournaments this season.

Typically, the Lakers have two players among the league's top three finishers. This time, though, Simanton's teammates had a tougher-than-expected round. Leading the way among the cast of supporters was Lise Andersen with a 51. She was followed by Nathalie Krauth with a 53 and Deanna Ulrich with a 56.

Shoff said it's just a matter of time before all three of those girls put together rounds in the 40s. He's just hoping they all do it on one day.