After playing up to a tie with CWAC-leading East Valley during the Monday, April 29, home golf dual, the Othello boys sent Tyler Amoruso and Ethan Towle to shoulder the burden of winning a tiebreaker hole. Unfortunately, the undefeated Red Devils won by two strokes to win the match and left the Huskies with a second-place finish in their final match at Othello Golf Course. Both teams finished the first 18 holes tied at 345 and Othello head coach Brian Lumsden said he was happy with all six of his golfers' sub-100 finishes to put them within reach of the win over a tough East Valley squad. Once again, windy conditions didn't help, but the team didn't allow the factor to disrupt their games too much. "In the super-windy conditions, I think they responded well," Lumsden said. "It was a good showing as a team and it shows we can get down to those mid-to-low 350s." Sophomore Amoruso led the team with his 81 strokes, followed by senior Trevor Salsbury at 85 and junior Colton Hall's 87 strokes. Three other sophomores, Towle, RJ Garza and Cole Scott, all shot in the 90s, which Lumsden said is a vast improvement for these younger golfers since the beginning of the season. "I was happy with how Cole broke 100 and how Ethan and RJ really stepped it up," he said. "Tyler actually got the lowest score on the team with an 81, so it was a good showing." Lumsden said the team was excited to get so close to taking down East Valley, but unfortunately, the two-stroke advantage they had in the playoff hole ended that possibility. In the first 18 holes, the team put in a strong effort with their putting and Amoruso did a good job at it, Lumsden said. "He parred every hole that I watched him play," he said. "His short game was on and he was lag putting within two feet and making his next putt. I think being at home, in the wind, was maybe an advantage for them, but it was a tight match." It couldn't have been as close as it was if it wasn't from some solid play from some of the younger players on the team, who Lumsden said have improved greatly since the beginning of the season. "Every player this season had matches that really surprised me in terms of setting their personal best ... and being able to execute a plan in tournament play," Lumsden said. "There were individual parts to their game that were bright spots and I think everybody's going to finish this season with some renewed enthusiasm for playing." The Huskies finished the regular season with a 5-4 league record at fourth place. There were some low spots that every golfer knows comes with the sport, but Lumsden said he was happy the team kept positive attitudes no matter what.
Huskies finish in middle of the pack at Suncadia Invite The following day, the team planned to get on the road at around five in the morning to head to Roslyn for the Suncadia Invite, but a winter storm delayed the whole tournament by a few hours. Lumsden said when the team finally got there and saw the courses with snow still on them from the night before, the only word that came to their mind was "bleak." Once the snow had finally melted, Othello and the 21 other teams had to contend with standing water on Prospector Golf Course. The Huskies and the other teams had to play by winter rules, but Othello put in a decent performance to finish with 369 strokes for the day. In drier conditions, putting on Prospector's greens is difficult but every team had additional issues with the short game on the soggy greens, Lumsden said. "The greens this time of the year, up in the mountains, are the way they are," he said. "Putting was something you really had to adjust to ... it was resistance putting all day and if you didn't get the right power into the ball, it would be either four feet short or three feet long." Even fairly straightforward fairway shots presented challenges. Lumsden said his team is used to playing on harder and compacted soil in Othello and the team had to compensate for it. "We needed to make some adjustments in between holes in terms of how much downward compression we were putting on the ball," he said. "That club head was just diving into the fairways because it was just wet sod." Together, the team did well with Salsbury leading his team with 79 strokes, while Amoruso remained under 90 strokes with a finish of 89. Towle and Scott's scores jumped a bit up to 104 and 107 strokes respectively and Garza came in at 97. Lumsden said Salsbury played in a strong group of golfers from bigger three and four 'A' schools. "I was proud of Trevor for shooting a 79 in a No. 1 group," he said. "He hung right there with them, so my hat's off to him." This was the Huskies' final match before districts, which begin May 14 at Black Rock Creek Golf Course and Lumsden commended the guys for sticking the whole day out with the mucky weather. The team will prepare for districts by traveling to the course at least twice for practice rounds and he hopes they'll have a good working knowledge of the course now that they've played it multiple times this year. "I'm hoping to be in the top three and I think if Trevor and Tyler lead the pack, I expect a strong showing by everyone," Lumsden said, adding that the team is excited to compete at the next level. "You can sense there's a little more urgency at practice now, so that's encouraging.