Sports

Mount Si girls golf squad begins new era

The 2009 Mount Si golf squad includes, from left, front row, Sarah Price, Delaney Bullinger, Katherine Jamerson, Genna Magnan, back row, coach Glen Uno, Annie England, Maggie Robinson, Julia Dorn, coach Mike Johnston. - Seth Truscott / Snoqualmie Valley Record
The 2009 Mount Si golf squad includes, from left, front row, Sarah Price, Delaney Bullinger, Katherine Jamerson, Genna Magnan, back row, coach Glen Uno, Annie England, Maggie Robinson, Julia Dorn, coach Mike Johnston.
— image credit: Seth Truscott / Snoqualmie Valley Record

The Mount Si girls golf program has some huge cleated shoes to fill this season.

The team is begins life after being led on the course for four years by star Katie Somers, who has taken her clubs to Boise State and NCAA Division I women’s college golf this spring.

The Wildcats are coached by Mike Johnston, back for his 21st season. The team went 2-6 last season, and returns several golfers, among them seniors Katherine Jamerson and Annie England, and sophomore Maggie Robinson.

Johnston is looking to focus on one major part of the girls’ individual games: their short game.

“The biggest improvement that could be made in the game of golf is in your short game, how you chip and putt,” he said. “Most people can get down near a green in a few shots.”

But it’s what happens when you get near the green that is most costly for the squad. Many young players have gone through the rough stretches of getting on a green and four-putting and chipping across it, Johnston said. The result: “A lot of wasted shots.”

A key senior newcomer this year is Sarah Price. The group is small this year, only about seven or eight at the moment. But Johnston has a target in mind for all the girls.

“The goal this year is to get everybody’s rounds down to a more typical level,” he said.

If possible, the girls will get their scores down in the low 50s or under 50, “and have fun doing it,” the coach said.

Realignment in Kingco puts Mount Si in a division with 3A Liberty and 4A Redmond, Eastlake and Skyline. Johnston expects the Mustangs, the defending 4A champs, to do well, and predicts Mercer Island to be the class of the 3A teams.

Mount Si will face other courses including Newcastle and Sahalee. Both courses are considered to be championship-quality courses, and Sahalee has hosted a pair of recent men’s pro golf championships.

The Newcastle course, which has few trees and sits atop Somerset Hill in south Bellevue, can be quite windy. Robinson knows how she will approach her game if wind becomes a problem there. “What you want to do is choke up on the club,” she said. “You don’t want to get under the ball at all and hit it high, because the wind will definitely affect it. You want to hit it as low to the ground as possible to get a good hit,” Robinson said.

The Redmond course, which is Eastlake’s home course, has a lot of trees on and around it, making shots difficult.

Jamerson expects she and England will be able to lead their team well.

“Since Annie and I have been here the longest, we’re hoping to be able to support the younger ones,” Jamerson said.

Jamerson has been driving her younger teammates to practices from the school, “so we get to talk about golf during that time,” she said.

With junior and other golf programs in Valley, long-term prospects look good for the program, but that promise will take a while to pan out.

“In the future, we’re going to see more girls turning out, because those programs are still five to six years away,” Johnston said.

Robinson asks the community to encourage girls who are trying out for sports to try golf.

“Even if you don’t compete, you are learning a lot, and it’s a fun sport,” she said.

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