Three golfers place at state

The four athletes representing Mercer Island High School in the boys and girls state golf tournaments finished their respective season strong May 21 and 22. Three of the four golfers made the cut and qualified to play in the second round.

The defending state champion boys team finished seventh overall at state despite having just two participants competing during the second round.

“They played well and gave it a run,” said Mercer Island coach Tyson Peters. “We had high aspirations thanks to last year.”

Islander Brian Tolkin shot a one-over 73 during the first day at Homestead Farms Golf Resort in Lynden, Wash., but finished the tournament five over par with a combined score of 150. Tolkin completed the state tournament finishing 11th overall.

“He hit all the fairways and greens during the first day and was clutch with his putter,” said Peters. “The second day he just wasn’t as on as the first day.”

Islander Daniel Kern shot a four over 75 on the first day and 77 during the second round to finish in 18th overall.

“He played really smart golf,” said Peters. “He can hit the ball a long way but he knew this wasn’t the course for that and he put his driver away and was less aggressive and it worked.”

Islander Brian Naden, competing on the first day, shot an 11-over 83. The score was not low enough to qualify for the second round.

“He had the fourth best shooting average in KingCo this season,” said Peters. “He just had his one bad round of the year and it happened to be on the first day of state. But I was happy for him because he is a senior and he finally got to play at state.”

Thornton finishes strong

Sophomore Kirby Thornton was the only girls golfer from Mercer Island High School to qualify for the state tournament and she made the most of her opportunity. Thornton finished the season as the 11th best golfer in the state as she shot a combined 165 at Sun Valley Golf Course in Bellingham, Wash.

“I learned a lot from last year,” said Thornton. “I got tired and shot in the 90s. I really paced myself better this time.”

But Thornton also prepared for the tournament, practicing at Sun Valley twice this year, including nine holes a day before the beginning of the official practice of an additional nine hole practice.

“When I first found out where [state] was going to be I made a point to get up there and practice,” said Thornton.

Thornton said that she was relaxed at the state tournament, another difference from last year.

The sophomore has aspirations of a state title before she graduates from Mercer Island High School but she is keeping things in perspective.

“Next year, I want to be in the top five,” said Thornton. “There were six seniors ahead of me this time so that seems like a good goal.”

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