by Jethro Swain
Tolf keeps getting better.
That’s the phrase I’m trademarking as the official slogan of Tolf. Since I joined the team as a freshman, having never played a hole of real golf in my life, I’ve found that each year, the team gets better in every sense.
Every time we lose a senior we think the team won’t be as fun the next year without him (a senior girl golfer hasn’t actually graduated while I’ve been here yet) and we think that the team won’t be as strong the next year. But each year so far we’ve been proven wrong.
Each year the team has gotten closer and had just as much fun as a group as years before, and this year, Tolf took home its first ever district title, its first ever individual district title for both girls and guys, its first ever top 4 finish and trophy as a team, and its first ever top 10 finisher at state.
Five records and accomplishments this year. Easily the most successful season in OES golf history.
It all started on the 9th of May. The five boys consisting of myself, Lukie Sam, Willy Acks, Alden, and Josh traveled to Broadmoor Golf Course on the east side, very close to the Portland Airport. You can actually see planes landing on the runway from the 7th tee box.
The five of us teed off in the order of Will, Luke, Me, Josh, and Alden, based on rounds from a previous match. We were all a bit nervous, Luke had to go to the bathroom upwards of 19 times between when we arrived at the golf course and when he teed off cause he was so scared.
Our nervousness really showed when Will topped his tee shot, Luke hooked his tee 75 yards to the left over a row of trees, and I not only topped my first tee shot 15 yards, but chunked my second shot 20 yards, and then I hit my next shot so perfect that it went farther than I expected and ended up in the bunker. So great start, especially by me.
By the end of the day I ended up with the highest score though, which was good because that means everyone shot better than my 95, and gave us a decent nine stroke lead over Portland Adventist who had an atrocious day. Their number one player shot a 97 when he normally shoots mid to low 80’s.
Meanwhile, Jane and the rest of the girls team were killing it at Meriwether, Jane shooting an 85 on her first day holding a five stroke lead after day one.
The second day was super close. Children were in tears, girls were screaming, parents were biting their nails, Missy was texting frivolously.
It took a lot for us to beat out our rivals PAA. Alden put together a great back nine, and I was able to break the curse and do a reverse choke shooting a 42 on the back nine after I shot a 47 on the front nine.
By the end it came down to Willy Acks and the last Portland Adventist player (the same player who got a red card in the championship game) and doing some quick math we figured out that Will need to beat the PAA guy in his group by 5 strokes.
Willy Acks broke the OES school record for the lowest round that day with a 75 and beat the PAA player by 8 strokes, giving us the win by three strokes.
Inevitably every girl in the area flocked to Willy Acks, one for every stroke he had that day, and two ripped guys put Willy Acks on their shoulders and carried him back to the bus, where Hatch was there waiting to knight him for vanquishing Wil Jon Jones IV’s record and claiming the name of best score if Tolf history.
Winning districts also means that for the first time ever there will be a banner in the gym dedicated to the golf team, a true phenomenal and nine years ago unlikely feat.
Meanwhile at Quail Valley on the second day of districts for the girls, Jane was having a bit of a rough day, but her teammates Clem, Rhea, and Lucy all played well and gave it their best to try an pull a Hail Mary and make State but came up just short as a team in 4th place — which is not bad given that the girls did not even have a team last year.
While Jane did not player her best she still shot a 95 which was just enough for her to maintain her five stroke lead and win districts, making her the first individual to do so, along with Willy Acks.
The next weekend was State. The boys team left for Eugene to play Emerald Valley Golf Course while Jane left for Eaglecrest in Redmond. All six of us played a practice round of 18 on Saturday to get familiar with our respective courses.
The first day was a little rough for me and Luke, but the rest of our team played well, especially Josh who shot an 87, one stroke shy of his personal best. We sat in fifth place after the first day, five strokes behind Oakridge, five strokes ahead of Taft, and ten strokes ahead of PAA, so it was a very close race, five strokes is basically nothing.
At the same time in Redmond at Eaglecrest, Jane shot a 90, putting her in 13th place after the first day. Tolf had a bit of work to do to break some more records.
Day two everyone played solid. I came out with a rough start shooting a 49 on the front with no pars and four doubles. However, on the tenth green, I spotted a mysterious figure, wearing a black and gold polo from the 2014 golf team, and a San Francisco Giants hat.
Then I saw the beard and immediately knew it was none other than Tolf legend, class of 2014 Connor “Corn” Macmillan. Connor attends Unversity of Oregon and came down to watch us make history. I was immediately fired up.
On the 11th hole, a par 3, I smacked a 6 Iron that rolled just a couple of feet under the pin down to the right, and I was just off the green for a 12 foot birdie putt, which I drained to give me some momentum.
I finished the back 9 with a 42, with Connor watching me almost the whole way, finishing with a 91. Lukie Sam came in with a 92, the Alden came in with a great 86, but disappointingly no hole in ones, Josh came in with a 90 in his final round, and Willy Acks had a rough day with an 87, but did just enough for the team to snag fourth place thanks to Oakridges entire team pulling a Jordan Spieth and collapsing.
Tolf won by nine strokes to give us the first ever top four finish and our first ever trophy at state.
Meanwhile, again, Jane was killing it on the second day and making an incredible comeback with her score of an 87 to jump up five spots and place 8th individually at state. The first ever top 10 finish for guys or girls at state.
Both teams capped off what was already the most successful golf season ever with their finishes at state. I’m so proud of everyone on all the teams, but especially our guys team because we were able to come in with such high expectations and fulfill them all. The team continues to grow and grow and I’m already so excited for next year.
We have to say a sad goodbye to Jane and Josh though, but Jane will be continuing her golf career at St. Olaf in the middle of Minnesota or Wisconsin or something, and Josh will be throwing a frisbee around a quad in Missouri at the University of Washington St. Louis.
Look out for us at the beginning of March next year shooting even lower scores and getting even higher finishes as we fulfill the motto that is “Tolf keeps getting better™”.