Sports

Junior golfers showcase skills

Five years ago Oak Harbor’s Judd Ford picked up a golf club for the first time, one year ago he competed in his first tournament and now at 11-years-old he’s earned a name for himself as one of Washington’s top junior golfers.

“I just like playing, it’s a lot of fun,” Ford said.

In last week’s Washington Junior Golf Association championship Ford earned second place among the state’s elite 8-11 year-old golfers. Over a three-day span at Everett Golf and Country Club, he shot an impressive 38-37-83—158. Carl Jonson of Bainbridge Island won the age group, shooting a 35-37-75—147.

This year’s second place finish was quite a jump for Ford, who improved on his 2003 performance by nearly 20 strokes.

“I didn’t play as well last year, but I also had a lot of competition,” he said.

Ford earned this year’s state bid by placing first at a sub-district tournament held at Whidbey Golf and Country Club and taking first at the district tournament held a week before the state championship.

At only 11, Ford appears to be a natural at a sport it takes many a lifetime to try and grasp—something that can be attributed to an early start and lots of practice.

“I went out to the driving range when I was like six or seven...my dad brought me to the range a lot when I was little,” Ford said. “I try to practice as much as I can, but I work at my grandpa’s house and I have football, so I can’t do it that much, but I try to practice three times a week.”

Matt Holmly, who placed 25th in the boys 14-15 age group, was the only other Oak Harbor golfer to take part in last week’s WJGA state championship. Over the three day’s Holmly shot 77-78-81—236 in his first ever WJGA state competition.

“I wish I would have finished stronger,” he said. “I played pretty well the first two days, but I blew it on the third day.”

Although he didn’t place as high as he maybe would have liked, Holmly, an incoming junior at Oak Harbor High School, hopes this experience is something he can carry over into next year’s prep season.

“It’s just good tournament experience,” he said. “The competition is really intense.”

Alex Wotherspoon of Sammamish won the 14-15 age group, shooting a 77-72-70—219.

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