BANKS – A cold, windy Tuesday at Class 6A boys state golf belonged to a precocious sophomore and a determined senior duo looking to end a record-setting team title streak.
Clackamas sophomore Sam Pyon won the 6A medal, as he was the only player to break or match par during the second round with a 2-under 70 at Quail Valley Golf Course. Pyon had a 36-hole score of even-par 144, good for a three-stroke win over runner-up Danny Terrell of Jesuit.
Jesuit romped to the team title, ending Lake Oswego’s five-year state championship run. The Crusaders, who lost to the Lakers by one stroke in last year’s tournament, left no doubt as their two-day score of 602 was 23 strokes better than second-place Clackamas.
Though Pyon is just in his second year of high school golf, his victory is hardly a surprise. He’s a rising junior talent who won medal honors at last summer’s Hogan Cup. In 2015, Pyon competed in the national Drive, Chip and Putt competition at Augusta National during the week of the Master’s.
Pyon, who tied for fifth at state last year as a freshman, was under the radar Tuesday. He trailed first-round leader Nick Timm of Jesuit, and went off in one of the day’s first groups.
As one of the first players to finish, Pyon’s name hung on top of the leaderboard for most of the competition.
“It took off a lot of pressure to play early,” he said.
Perhaps the most surprised person to see him succeed Tuesday was Pyon himself. He admits inclement conditions, particularly the wind, can be rough on his game.
“Normally I never play well in this. I don’t remember one round where I’ve been close to even-par in this kind of conditions. Really surprised me today that I broke par,” Pyon said.
What gave? Pyon wasn’t shy.
“I got lucky for sure,” he said. “I wouldn’t say it was all luck, but I did get lucky once in a while. Putting, sometimes I didn’t even look at it. I didn’t know where to hit it, and somehow it went in. Or the wind took the ball away from a hazard.”
Pyon made his charge on the back nine following an even-par 36. He birdied both the back nine par-5s to finish with a 34.
Best of all, Pyon never knew how others were doing, as he was many holes ahead.
“I didn’t worry about anyone else’s scores. I just wanted to play the best I could,” he said.
Terrell shot 74 to finish at 3-over 147 (73-74) and alone in second. Sunset’s Kevin Orr placed third at 148 (74-74), while West Salem’s Andrew Eyre placed fourth (74-75=149).
Defending champion Reese Fisher of South Medford tied for ninth at 152 (75-77).
Timm, who led by three strokes after a first-round 70, faded after Tuesday’s 80 for a 150 score. His chances evaporated on the front nine after making triple bogeys at No. 2 and 7.
Yet, when Timm rammed in a four-foot par putt at 18, he was all smiles. His Jesuit teammates, which included a large group of seniors including Terrell, were cheering off to the side of the green.
“Of course I would have loved to have won the individual, but at the end of the day, on the first tee today, I wasn’t playing for myself. I was playing for my teammates,” Timm said.
Jesuit buried Lake Oswego and the rest of the field with an opening round 293. The Crusaders finished the job with a 309, the best second-round score. Lake Oswego finished fourth at 635, eight strokes behind third-place Sunset.
Timm said last year’s close call against the Lakers fueled a heavy workload during the offseason that paid off Tuesday.
“The last few years, you have to give it up to LO. They outperformed us the last five years,” Timm said. “The reign of LO … I take that back. The reign of Jesuit golf starts today.”