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Stepping up at state

Tualatin junior Hayley Mortensen claims fourth place at Class 6A girls golf tournament


by: DAN BROOD - FINISHING STRONG -- Tualatin junior Hayley Mortensen sinks this putt for par on her final hole at the state tournament.BANKS — Last week, after play ended at the Pacific Conference girls golf district tournament, Hayley Mortensen took a look ahead at the Class 6A state tournament.

She said she hoped to finish in the top 10, and that placing in the top 5 would be “incredible.”

Well, that should explain why Mortensen, a Tualatin High School junior, had a big smile on her face after play ended at this week’s Class 6A state tourney.

Mortensen, turning in a solid, consistent second-round performance, jumped up to claim fourth place in the individual standings at the state event held Monday and Tuesday at Quail Valley Golf Course.

“It means a lot to me,” Mortensen said after receiving her fourth-place medal. “It’s better than last year (when she finished in a tie for sixth place). Yeah, it’s definitely incredible.”

With her fourth-place finish, Mortensen helped the young Tualatin girls squad finish in eighth place in the team standings.

“I think it was good,” Tualatin sophomore Janelle Decker said.

“We all improved,” Tualatin sophomore Amanda Pozo added. “And, it helped having Hayley.”

Meanwhile, Mortensen entered the state tournament with some confidence — thanks to Saturday’s practice round at Quail Valley. That day, Mortensen had a round of 70 strokes, which was her best ever score for a round.

“I thought that was a great sign,” she said. “This is a good course.”

In Monday’s first round of tourney play, Mortensen had a score of 77, which put her into a tie for fifth place at that point.

“Yesterday, my short game wasn’t going so good,” she said.

That wasn’t a problem in Tuesday’s second round.

“It was working today,” she said.

Mortensen had five birdies in Tuesday’s second round on her way to shooting an even-par 72 for the day. She also had a clutch finish, with an on-target chip followed by a pinpoint putt on hole No. 9, her final hole of the round, to cap off her day.

“That turned out to be big,” she said. “I did’t know how close to par I was.”

Mortensen’s two-day score of 149 put her in fourth place, four shots behind third-place Haleigh Krause of Sheldon.

“I kept my calm, and just played my game,” Mortensen said. “I was pretty consistent today, and I loved the groups I played in. That helps. I’m happy right now.”

Decker certainly was more happy on Tuesday than she was after Monday’s opening round. After shooting a 106 on Monday, Decker came back strong to record a personal-best 92 on Tuesday.

“I wasn’t so frustrated today. I have an attitude problem,” she said with a laugh. “I think 10 people told me to just have fun today, and I did.”

Decker’s two-round score of 198 tied her with sophomore teammate Bridget Nolan for 50th place in the individual standings.

Nolan’s two-day score of 198 included an 88 in Monday’s first round.

Tualatin senior Cheri Luikart had a two-day score of 204. She shot a 102 in each day of the tournament.

Pozo, playing in her first state tournament, had a two-day score of 227.

“This was a lot more intense than league,” she said. “Each day, I was the youngest player in my group. That was fun.”

Tualatin had a two-day team score of 749, putting the Wolves two shots ahead of ninth-place Lake Oswego.

“We were close with Lake Oswego,” Pozo said. “It was good to get them.”

Now, the Wolves are already looking ahead to good things in the future.

“We’re hoping to come back,” Pozo said.

“We’ll have to set some higher goals next year,” Decker said.

“We can get back here,” Mortensen said. “I think we can get better. I’m hoping to improve and lower my scores next year. I’m hoping for a few rounds in the 60s. This was a great way to end the high school season. I’m proud of the team.”

Meanwhile, Tigard junior Sooji Kim, a first-year high school golfer, enjoyed her state tournament experience.

“It was really exciting,” she said. “I didn’t expect to be here, so I felt blessed.”

Kim got off to a strong start to the tournament, carding a personal-best 92 in Monday’s first round.

“I was really happy about that,” she said. “It went really well. My putting was good and my short game was better.”

On Tuesday, Kim shot a 104, giving her a two-day score of 196, which put her in a tie for 47th place in the individual standings.

“I hope to come back next year, but with the entire team,” Kim said.

Forest Grove junior Hannah Swanson won the individual state championship with a four-under-par, two-day score of 140. That put her just one shot ahead of defending champion Gigi Stoll of Beaverton.

Sheldon won the Class 6A state team championship with a two-day score of 624.




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