Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites


Swanson surges to state title

Hannah Swanson shoots a record-setting round of 67 to win Forest Grove’s first state golf title since 1966


by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: AMANDA MILES - Forest Grove junior Anna Swanson hits a shot on the second day of the Class 6A girls golf state championships at Quail Valley Golf Course last Tuesday en route to a state title.Historic. Scintillating. Compelling. Unprecedented.

Hannah Swanson’s golf game was all of this and more last week. Competing in the Class 6A girls golf state championships at Quail Valley Golf Course in Banks, the Forest Grove junior charged from behind on the second and final day of the tournament to capture medalist honors and the school’s first-ever individual championship by a female golfer.

“It doesn’t even feel like it still happened. I’m still kind of shocked,” Swanson said last Tuesday after the tournament awards ceremony, her gold medal draped around her neck.

“Maybe tomorrow it will finally settle in. Tomorrow I’ll probably wake up and be like, ‘I just won the state champion individual.’”

Swanson has had a few tomorrows since then to grow accustomed to her new title, which she won in thrilling and record-setting fashion by a single stroke over 2012 champion Gigi Stoll of Beaverton. The Forest Grove golfer needed every bit of her state tournament record-low round of 67 on Tuesday to knock off Stoll, who played in last year’s U.S. Women’s Open and was the 2012 Oregon Amateur women’s champion.

“Obviously, everyone wants to win it as an individual,” said Swanson, who tied for ninth place in last year’s state tournament. “But ... if I didn’t win it, it was going to be OK as long as I shot a good number, a number that I was proud of.”

Monday’s first round set the stage for not just a good number, but a great number by Swanson. Playing in the same pairing, Stoll and Swanson finished tied for first place after shooting matching scores of 1-over-par 73.

Swanson’s score came after she triple bogeyed No. 9, her final hole of the day, and the two girls finished one stroke ahead of Sheldon’s Haleigh Krause.

Had the final outcome been different, that No. 9 could have been a hole that Swanson would rue at tournament’s end, but as it turned out, it merely set the stage for Tuesday’s dramatics.

Playing just behind the rest of her Beaverton teammates, Stoll had one of the earliest tee times on Tuesday, while Swanson — playing in the final group to tee off that day — did not begin her round for nearly two more hours.

“Knowing what she needed to do today, since Gigi went out first, I was able to actually tell her kind of where she was at a couple different times,” Forest Grove golf coach Bobby Rymer said. “She was pretty surprised Gigi was five under on the front. She kind of knew she had some work to do.

“Then I told her Gigi made a couple of bogeys (on the back), and I think that gave her kind of a fuel that she needed to add to the fire to then birdie 1, birdie 2, birdie 3 ... and she’s the type of gal, when she knows what she needs to do, she can pretty much go out and do it.”

As Rymer noted, Stoll set that white-hot pace early, making birdies on six of her first 10 holes. She added three bogeys and one more birdie over her final eight holes for a 4-under 68 — a state tournament record at the time — and a two-day total of 3-under 141.

“She’s a huge competitor. She never lets go of the throttle. She likes to take risks. She hits it a long ways,” Swanson said about Stoll, whom she also has played against in Oregon Golf Association contests. “She’s a good golfer, and I knew in order for me to win ... that I was going to have to be good and shoot a good number.”

In time, Swanson proved up to the task of knocking off Stoll. Starting her day on the back nine, she shot 1-under through her first nine holes thanks to a birdie on No. 11. But it would take more than that to beat Stoll.

Swanson delivered.

She made birdies on Nos. 1, 2 and 3 before what would prove to be her coup de grace — an eagle on the par 5 fifth hole, putting her two strokes ahead of Stoll’s final tally with four holes to go.

“It was dang near a double eagle,” Rymer said. “It hit on the front edge of the green and tracked, actually hit the hole, hit the stick and lipped out. It was halfway down.”

Swanson did give one stroke back with a bogey on the seventh hole but made par on the final two holes to preserve her victory, shooting a two-day score of 4-under 140.

She joins 1966 boys medalist Fred Haney as the only high school state golf champions in Forest Grove history.

“I just told myself, ‘Just par it out. You can do it. You’ve been doing it your whole life,’” Swanson said of her mindset with two holes to go.

Of course, she did make those pars — for the win and for a little bit of history.

Add a comment



Local Weather

Fair

62°F

Forest Grove

Fair

Humidity: 78%

Wind: 3 mph

  • 29 Aug 2014

    Partly Cloudy 75°F 56°F

  • 30 Aug 2014

    Showers 72°F 54°F