Performing under pressure is something Camas High sophomore golfer Owen Huntington works on year round. After struggling a bit in his final round at districts, held Oct. 9, at Tri-Mountain Golf Course in Ridgefield, he rallied in the final holes to force a playoff with senior Anthony Tobias from Battle Ground for the title of 4A Greater St. Helens League district champion.
“I was in good position to birdie the last three holes with putts under 10 feet, and I felt like my putts were on good lines,” Huntington said.
Those three birdie chances just missed the mark on bumpy late afternoon greens, which allowed Tobias to birdie the first hole and win the district title.
“Most of my errors were course management,” Huntington said.
On hole 13, which is a par five, Huntington attempted to reach the green in two shots with a three wood, but blocked the shot right and ended with a double bogie.
“If I had just hit a hybrid, I would have been in good position to birdie the hole,” Huntington said.
His second-place finish qualifies Huntington for the bi-district tournament.
Last year, as a freshman, Huntington finished fifth in the district tournament, but went on to win the bi-district tournament and finish the state tournament in fifth place.
“My goal is just to improve on last year, and my goals are based on scores, not position, because if I shoot in the 60s I will be happy with wherever I place in the standings,” Huntington said.
Papermakers go to sudden death against Union
Before this year, the golf postseason didn’t include teams, only individual scores; now both teams and individual performances are recognized.
The Camas golf team, which includes Huntington, Derek Harker, Mathew Cannon, Caleb Shira and Cameron Miller, finished the tournament tied for third place with the league champions from Union High School in Vancouver.
However, only the top three teams earn spots in the bi-district tournament, so Camas and Union went into a sudden death playoff after two full days of golf.
The Papermakers fell behind early, but with clutch play from Huntington, who had just finished his own individual playoff, and Derek Harker, Camas was able to square the first playoff hole. The second playoff hole was put away early, with Caleb Shira and Matthew Cannon going 2 up.
Then, Huntington and Harker sealed the deal with a pair of pars, winning the playoff and earning Camas a team spot in the bi-district tournament.
“We have a lot of young players this year, and one of the challenges has been to find the right way to place them in the lineup so our team can be the most successful,” Camas head golf coach Ed Givens said.
“Coach Givens told me to swing slower, and I did much better on the back nine because I was just swinging slower,” Harker said.
The young Papermaker team earned a spot in the bi-district tournament at Gold Mountain Golf Course in Bremerton, Washington, where they will have the opportunity to qualify for the state tournament in Spokane.
The Camas boys play a split season, meaning they will need to wait until spring to compete at the bi-district tournament, which takes place in early May.
“We just need to get everybody on the right page between now and then,” Givens said.
Huntington said the long break won’t be a problem, because he focuses on golf year round and has a busy slate of tournaments scheduled over the winter.
“I practice a lot on my own, and play in lots of tournaments, so I’m looking forward to improving on my state finish last year,” Huntington said. “And, hopefully, our entire team will earn a spot in the state tournament.”