Defending state golf champion Hannah Swanson sits in third place after the opening round of play

by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: ZACK PALMER - Hannah Swanson hits a shot from the fairway on Monday during the first round of the state tourney. CRESWELL — The mark of a truly great golfer is someone who can make a low score even when they aren’t playing their best.

That was Hannah Swanson on Monday afternoon.

Swanson, a Forest Grove senior and the defending state champion, struggled with her accuracy off the tee but still shot a 1-over 73 in the first round of the Class 6A girls golf state championships at Emerald Valley Golf & Resort.

That score put Swanson in third place individually, behind West Linn’s Sarah Archuleta (72) and Sheldon’s Haleigh Krause, who fired a 2-under 70.

“Hannah did play pretty well yesterday, but in her mind she didn’t play so well,” Forest Grove coach Bobby Rymer said on Tuesday morning, before the tournament’s final round began.

“She only hit about five fairways all day. She just felt like she wasn’t striking the ball very well. She was fighting to keep the ball in play, so to shoot that score when she wasn’t playing her best, that’s pretty impressive.”

Swanson started on the 10th hole at Emerald Valley and made two bogeys in her first six holes, but she righted the ship after the turn and birdied No. 3 and No. 7 to get back to even-par. She fell back to plus-1 with a bogey on No. 9, which had a sinister pin placement on Monday.

“She dang near hit it out of bounds to the left,” Rymer said of Swanson’s tee shot on No. 9. “Then the pin was all the way in the back, kind of on the edge of a downslope. That was a true ‘Sunday pin’ if I’ve ever seen one.”

Swanson will begin Tuesday’s final round trailing Krause by three shots, but the senior is no stranger to come-from-behind victories. Last year she fell behind Beaverton’s Gigi Stoll on the second day of state, but fired a tournament-record round of 67 to win by one stroke.

“She said she has room for improvement and she felt like she could play better, so today’s going to be a new day and we’re anxious to see what she can do,” Rymer said. “She didn’t play her best yesterday, but she held it together and she’s still only three shots out of the lead.”

Krause, playing on her home course, took a big early lead with four birdies that put her at 4-under through 15 holes, but she stumbled to the finish line with back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 17 and 18 to finish at 2-under NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: ZACK PALMER - Forest Grove senior Hannah Swanson reacts after lipping out a chip on the 14th hole Monday during the first round of the Class 6A state tournament at Emerald Valley Golf & Resort.

Archuleta, a West Linn senior, also had two bogeys in her final five holes to fall back to even-par 72 on Monday. She sits in second place.

Swanson will also have to be on the lookout for Stoll, last year’s runner-up who sits four shots back at 5-over 77. Stoll shot a 68 in her closing round at last year’s state tournament, and she shot 67 at Emerald Valley earlier this month at the State Preview Tournament.

“Hannah has always been one who wants to fly under the radar a little bit instead of being in the spotlight,” Rymer said. “So it might help her today knowing that she’s not the one who everybody else is chasing.

“I think Hannah knows she can go out and get it. She’s got a great opportunity today, but it’s going to be tough to beat Haleigh — she’s playing on her home course and she’s playing really well right now.”

Tuesday’s action ended after the News-Times went to press. Check back next week for complete tournament coverage.

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