Forest Grove senior Hannah Swanson takes third place after a final-round 75

by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: ZACK PALMER - Forest Grove senior Hannah Swanson watches her tee shot during the second round of the Class 6A girls golf state tournament last Tuesday.CRESWELL — Hannah Swanson was in contention for the entirety of the Class 6A girls golf state championships last week, but ultimately she just couldn’t get enough birdie putts to drop.

Swanson, last year’s individual medalist, shot a final-round 75 last Tuesday to finish the two-day tournament at 4-over-par 148, four strokes off the pace set by Sheldon’s Haleigh Krause. North Medford freshman Kiana Oshiro finished two shots ahead of Swanson in second place.

“I had at least four or five birdie putts that I didn’t make,” said Swanson, a Forest Grove senior who has committed to play golf at Oregon State next year. “I just couldn’t quite get there to the next level. I couldn’t break through. They were all like 10 feet or in.”

Still, Swanson’s third-place medal will pair nicely with the state championship she won in 2013, and it serves as an excellent bookend to an outstanding high school career.

“She said to me during the round, ‘It’s not as good as last year.’ And I said to her, ‘Hey, it’s your senior year, you’ve signed your letter, you’re moving on to bigger and better things with Oregon State ... just go have fun today,’” recalled Forest Grove golf coach Bobby Rymer.

“She wanted it. You could tell she wanted it. She just didn’t play as well as she wanted.”

Swanson started play on Tuesday trailing Krause by three shots, and she quickly gained ground with a birdie on the second hole. But she bogeyed No. 5 to fall back to even-par, and she would make only one more birdie the rest of the day.

“This whole tournament I’ve just kind of been hacking it around and trying to get up and down — save par and maybe get a birdie here and there,” Swanson said. “It was a bit of a struggle, but I’m proud that I pulled through and put in a couple of decent numbers.”

Rymer had a kinder assessment of Swanson’s performance.

“That’s fantastic. On a tough golf course with the conditions being windy and fast greens, I think she played pretty well,” he said. “What she was telling me was it didn’t feel like it was up to her expectations, but in my mind I think she played great.”

Krause got off to an inauspicious start on Tuesday, bogeying the first hole and making a double bogey on No. 4 to open the door for her competitors.

Oshiro laid down the gauntlet early with the day’s low round of 1-under 71, and Beaverton’s Gigi Stoll — last year’s runner-up — shot a 2-over 74 to also move up the leaderboard.

Krause was up to the task, however. The Sheldon senior made an eagle on No. 13, then birdied the 15th and 16th holes to create the necessary separation for her first state title.

While Swanson would have loved to earn another championship medal, she was content with her performance.

“I just wanted to come out and try my best and if I took first or top-five or whatever, it was going to be OK as long as I tried my best and put in a decent number,” she said.

Rymer said it would have been fun to see a final-day pairing of Swanson, Krause and Stoll.

“It would have been nice to have her play with some of the other gals like Gigi or Haleigh, to have some good competition to play against because I think she feeds off of that,” he said. “When she’s with better competition, she plays better. I think it helps her play better.”

Regardless of the outcome, both golfer and coach are excited about the future.

“It’s exciting to think this is my last high school event and my next school event will be in college,” Swanson said. “That’s really cool.”

“It’s been a great stepping stone to see her do as well as she’s done here the last couple years,” Rymer said. “It’s going to be great to see her put in some full-time effort and get just that much better.”

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