by: Vern Uyetake, Kevin Hoffman follows through after a shot during Monday’s Three Rivers League tournament at Waverley Country Club. Hoffman is the only senior on this year’s team which will look to steadily improve as the season progresses.

Despite a fifth-place finish at this week's league tournament, the West Linn boys golf team still has some hope. But time is already beginning to run short for securing a berth in the state tournament.

'Getting to state might be difficult this year,' assistant coach Shawn Hoffman said. 'But they have all of the talent in the world.'

From Hoffman's perspective, the Lions should be no worse than third place in the league standings. In reality, the Lions are tied fourth place with Oregon City with 10 points apiece.

They trail second-place Clackamas by six points, and teams receive just two points for each team they finish ahead of in the league tournaments.

So, the Lions have their work cut out for them. However, because of the circumstances, the players almost seem to be putting too much pressure on themselves, and it's affected the way they play.

'Maybe they're over-analyzing things while trying to hit the perfect shot,' Hoffman offered.

It didn't help matters that Monday's league tournament was played at Waverley Country Club, which is one of the toughest courses in the Portland area. The greens were unusually tough that day. As a result, each of West Linn's players recorded a score in the 90s.

And it didn't help that the Lions' Jake Lewis had to withdraw after nine holes because of a severe migraine headache. That meant that West Linn didn't have a score it could throw out.

So the remaining players - Kevin Hoffman, Jackson Henninger, Matt Percin and Josh Peterson - had to count their scores regardless of what they shot.

Despite their slow start to the season, no one is losing confidence in the players.

'If we take second the rest of the way, I think we have a shot at state,' Hoffman said.

Actually, that would just about seal a trip to state. But the Lions face the prospect of having to shave 44 shots from Monday's 376 team score in order to catch second-place Lakeridge.

The Lions will get a chance to rebound at next week's league tournament at Molalla's Arrowhead course, which is a neutral site for the league. Then it's on to Oswego Lake Country Club, which is Lakeridge's home course.

The following week, the tournament will move to Persimmon Golf Course in Gresham, and one week later everyone will play at West Linn's home course - the Oregon Golf Club.

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