Seaside boys golf team

From left to right, Seaside golfers Connor Merrell, Mason Shamion, Carson Kawasoe, Curtis Kunde and Samson Sibony show off the first-place trophy from The Dalles Invitational.

The Seaside boys golf team successfully defended its title at The Dalles Invitational, held Friday at The Dalles Country Club.

The Gulls shot 335 to outpace second-place St. Helens by 32 strokes. The Dalles took third with a 368. The only other 4A team in the field was La Grande, which shot 400.

Sophomore Curtis Kunde overcame Seaside’s highest score on the front nine by posting three birdies on the back nine for a one-under par score.

His 79 was good enough to win medalist honors, the only golfer in the field to break 80. Braden Bell of La Grande was second with an 81.

Seaside finished with all five players in the top 10, as Samson Sibony and Carson Kawasoe both shot 85, Mason Shamion carded an 86 and Connor Merrell shot 87.

“I like coming to this tournament because it helps the players become creative shot-makers and tests their mental toughness,” said Seaside coach Jim Poetsch. “On this course, you really need to have a plan for every hole, then re-evaluate that plan if you don’t hit shots nearly perfect. Players constantly have to be creative to score well.”

The Seaside golfers “were not impressed with their scores, but they don’t know the history of this tournament,” he said. “While this year’s field was not as tough, the course still was. The score they shot today beat both state champion teams and was the second-best score, by four strokes, to only the 2006 team.”

Seaside’s 2006 team “had the lowest scoring average of any team I’ve coached,” he said. “Curtis did a great job of overcoming some adversity early in his round. He started the day five-over par after two holes. After pars on the next three holes, he had a stretch of four straight bogeys to end the front nine. He then turned it on and went from a non-counting score to the tournament medalist.”

Seaside returns to Cowapa League play against defending state champion Valley Catholic on April 1 at Meriwether National Golf Course.

Gary Henley is a sports reporter for The Astorian. Contact him at 503-861-8493 or ghenley@dailyastorian.com.

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