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Vlckova uses strong round to move upleaderboard

Natalie Vlckova ties for 17th place at the 6A state golf tourney

Natalie Vlckova had just one chance to compete in the Oregon high school state golf tournament, so she made it count.NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD
 - Forest Grove junior Natalie Vlckova watches her tee shot during last Monday's opening round of the Class 6A girls golf state tournament.

A junior at Forest Grove and a foreign exchange student from the Czech Republic, Vlckova shot a fantastic 2-over-par 74 on May 17, the second day of the Class 6A girls state tournament. That score tied for second-best in a field of nearly 90 players on Day 2, helping Vlckova rocket up the individual standings.

She entered the second and final day of the competition at Quail Valley Golf Course in Banks sitting in 36th place, but her solid outing boosted her to an overall score of 163 and a tie for 17th. Vlckova finished just seven strokes away from the top 10, which would have earned her a spot on the all-tournament team.

“I definitely played better today,” Vlckova said after finishing Tuesday’s round. “Yesterday, I don’t know. I couldn’t really hit anything right. Today it was the opposite, so that was nice.”

Playing on the Vikings’ home course, Vlckova did struggle on the first day, recording 10 bogeys, two double bogeys and a triple bogey. The second day brought a much different story, obviously, as Vlckova recorded a birdie on the par-3 13th hole and only three bogeys. She was hitting her shots better, she noted, her short game was improved and she felt more confident.

“It’s kind of nice, because I feel familiar with it here,” Vlckova said. “We practice here every day. We only played the course like a few times, but still, it was pretty nice because it helped, because I’ve played in the past a lot, so I knew where to hit.”

Vlckova actually comes from a golfing family back in her home country. Her dad loves the sport and got her involved, she said, and her mother and brother both play.

She arrived here in Oregon last September and will return home in July.

“It’s going to be really hard to leave because you make friends, you make pretty close relationships with people, so it’s going to be hard, but it was (a ) really nice experience,” she said.

One aspect she has really enjoyed in coming to Oregon is the interscholastic nature of high school sports, which she said allows for socialization and making friends. She has also found the people in the area to be very friendly.

As for Forest Grove head coach Daryle Brown, he would love to keep her longer.

“I would add on to my house,” he said jokingly.

Brown said that the Vikings coaching staff often pointed to Vlckova as an example for the team’s younger girls to aspire to, and it was a role Vlckova embraced. Plus, she’s a pretty darn good golfer.

“She came to us like that,” Brown said. “We stayed out of her way with that. We helped her with little things, but she came with that swing, that beautiful swing.”

Vlckova has also quickly endeared herself to her opponents. Brown said that before state began, South Salem’s Ellie Slama, who won the individual title, and eventual fourth-place finisher Cammie Decker of McNary joined Vlckova for a practice round.

The three girls would not stop talking throughout.

“They’re hitting and they’re talking,” Brown said. “That’s what’s nice about golf.”

Also representing the Greater Valley Conference, Slama shot an even-par 144 for medalist honors. West Linn claimed the team title with a total of 641, bettering Westview by 13 strokes.