Idaho Falls- The Kellogg boys golf team are the 2017 3A state golf champions!
The state tournament at Idaho Falls Country Club proved to be final stamp on a nearly perfect season, but it was an absolutely dominating performance for Kellogg as they shot an incredible team score of 647, which was 66 strokes better than their nearest competition.
Last season the boys finished in third place at the state tournament, although that was viewed as success as far as everyone else was concerned, in the boys' mind they were dead last and that feeling fueled their run this season.
Cade Finlay was particularly impressive for the Wildcats on the first day shooting a 77 and helping the Wildcats build an impressive 31 stroke lead after the first 18 holes.
Coach Simon Miller was both skeptical and optimistic about his boys team after day one despite their commanding lead.
“We were a little bit wobbly out of the gate, especially after how well I thought we felt after the practice round on Sunday,” Miller stated. “The boys really hung in there after some tough breaks. Cade Finlay eagled the 18th hole today and started us out strong. Chase Jerome had some bad breaks, but held it together for his team. Taylor Bush had a solid round as a freshman in his first state golf tournament.”
Day two was merely academic for the Wildcats as they needed to do nothing more than play the same game they did the day before and they would be champions, they decided to overachieve.
Hogan Samuelson shave six strokes off his day one score and Jerome shot two better himself to ensure that no one would be stealing their thunder.
“For the boys, we set out to break the string of third place finishes stemming back to last year and basketball season,” Miller said. “I can't lie, a 30-plus stroke cushion after day one made things a little less stressful. Although the boys shot scores a little bit higher than they have been shooting, and what they wanted to do, they were still head and shoulders ahead of the other teams. I think the conditions made it difficult to score, and we had quite a few bad breaks along the way.”
The Wildcats had four team members inside the top ten, including Tyler Gibbons who finished sixth, Finlay finished fifth, Jerome finished seventh, and Samuelson finished eighth.
The Wildcats will return all five members of their team next year, which makes them a real threat to repeat and Miller acknowledged his skilled team and how they performed.
“Cade struggled to find a rhythm today, but really worked hard to keep things under control and help his team. Fifth overall individually isn't bad either,” Miller said. “Chase started off well on the front with a 38 but just couldn't get anything going on the back. Hogan Samuelson put on a short game clinic today, getting up and down for par from just about every type of shot possible. That 79 by Hogan is really, really hard earned, and impressive. Tyler Gibbons overcame a 9 on hole 12 (a par 5) after taking an 8 the day before. To have a 9 on a hole, and still shoot an 81 is outstanding. Last but not least, freshman Taylor Bush incurred a 2-stroke penalty when his ball moved on the green after marking it. As a freshman, Taylor really has a bright future, and is a big part of our success. I'm proud of his composure and tenacity.”
The Kellogg girls came up just short in their bid to repeat as state champs, but will be returning home with a second place trophy that is nothing to hang their heads about.
A slow start on day one was really the difference maker for the Wildcats as they couldn’t overcome the small lead that Buhl built.
What is truly amazing though is how Buhl and Kellogg finished with scores 782 and 793 respectively and they were still nearly 50 strokes better than any of the other teams in the tournament.
A testament to the quality golf the two teams displayed throughout the tournament.
“Kat (Rauenhorst) really competed well, but just couldn't get her putter going,” Miller said. “Kylie's (Robinson) senior leadership was outstanding today. She really came through for us. Emma Bristow was close to a breakthrough round. Anika Sundstrom had a few rough holes, but played really well and persevered.”
Day two played out differently as Kellogg shot a little better while Buhl shot a little worse, but not enough so to change their places.
Coach Miller was very pleased with the effort from his girls.
“I told the girls I'd be as proud of them whether they got first or seventh,” Miller said. “They fought really hard for a second place finish, and I wouldn’t trade my purple and gold for any other team! I'm proud of Kat for placing second individually, and Kylie Robinson for battling courageously in her last round as a Kellogg Wildcat. Kylie really epitomizes Kellogg Wildcat golf. Emma Bristow had an awesome day, and Morgan Nusz fought off a brutal front 9 to play 16 strokes better on the back 9. Anika Sundstrom played her heart out for us as well. I'm so proud of the girls.”
At the end of the day coach Miller was abundantly thankful for the hard work, the support, and the opportunity to be a part of the Kellogg Golf Program again.
“First and foremost, I'm extremely proud of our entire golf program, from the kids, to the parents, to our coaches, and the entire golf community at Pinehurst Golf Course,” Miller said. “I'm also grateful to my wife and daughters, who made sacrifices so I could get back into coaching. With three state titles in the last five years (Girls '13, Girls '16, and Boys '17) the Wildcat golf program is really thriving. I'm glad to be a part of it once again. My coaching staff is second to none. Danny Kenyon, Matt Van Hoose, and Thad Samuelson were invaluable this year and critical to our success. It really is a total team effort, with the kids, coaches, parents, and community.”
TOP 4 BOYS TEAM SCORES 1. Kellogg 324, 323, total 647 2. Buhl 367, 346, total 713 3. Kimberly 355, 366, total 721 4. Homedale 374, 364, total 738
KELLOGG INDIVIDUALS Cade Finlay 77, 83, total 160 (fifth overall) Chase Jerome 82, 80, total 162 (seventh overall) Hogan Samuelson 85, 79, total 164 (eighth overall) Tyler Gibbons 80, 81, total 161 (sixth overall) Taylor Bush 86, 91, total 177
TOP 4 GIRLS TEAM SCORES
1. Buhl 389,393, total 782, 2. Kellogg 399,394, total 793, 3. Weiser 415, 425, total 840, 4. Kimberly 422, 429, total 851.
Kat Rauenhorst 88, 85, total 173 (second overall) Kylie Robinson 95, 101, total 196 (ninth overall) Morgan Nusz 111, 110, total 221 Emma Bristow 105, 98, total 203 Anika Sundstrom 112, 113, total 225