I walked the golf course the other day, toting something with a bit of weight to it.
The golf I witnessed that day still has me shaking my head.
I saw eagle putts — some of the tap-in variety — and plenty of birdies.
I saw a kid nearly hole out from the fairway — the wrong fairway.
On the same hole where the kid nearly holed out from the adjacent fairway, then tapped in for a birdie, another kid matched his 3 by rolling in a putt from just off the green.
It was some of the most impressive golf that I have been a part of in a while.
OF COURSE, I wasn’t actually playing.
Are you kidding me?
I was toting a camera, not a golf bag.
I was taking pictures at the 2A District 1-2 golf tournament on Monday at The Links Golf Club in Post Falls.
Even if I had been playing, it’s doubtful many of those birdies — and definitely any of the eagles — would have come from me.
The one kid, Stephen Paul of Kellogg, shot an 8-under-par 65 to win the boys district title. He eagled the par-5 18th hole for what turned out to be a one-stroke victory. And he needed that putt because …
The other, Seth Swallows of St. Maries, rolled in a birdie putt on the last to finish with a 7-under 66.
(Side note: You don’t see a lot of par-73 golf courses. Of course, you don’t see a lot of golf courses with a par-6 hole, either.)
I’VE GOTTEN lucky over the years on the golf course, but I’ve never come close to shooting a 65 or 66 — unless you don’t count the last two or three holes.
And I’ve definitely never tapped in for eagle.
When I was about 10 years old, I tapped in for 15 once — and that’s only because my dad, who was standing by the pin, stuck out his leg and stopped my 14th shot, a bladed chip that was racing from just off the back of the green toward the front of the green.
Yes, Stephen and Seth and the others played from the white tees on Monday, which made the holes a bit shorter. But you still have to hit the shots, and make the putts, and these guys would have scored well from the blues.
LATER THAT day, after I got in to the office, I asked Simon Miller, the Kellogg coach, for his thoughts on the show that Paul and Swallows put on, and he responded with gushing praise for both of them, and those comments made their way into Tuesday’s newspaper.
About an hour later, Simon offered up some more thoughts, and more praise.
“I’m still processing this,” Miller said. “It is rare for the weather to cooperate … and I’m still replaying the last four holes in my mind. Stephen and Seth were definitely in the zone. They were matching one another shot for shot, and in the end, Stephen just drilled a difficult downhill putt for eagle on the 18th, and Seth drained his for birdie. Incredible performances on the biggest stage of the season thus far. Good stuff.”
Good stuff, indeed.
Perhaps an encore next week at state, when the 2As play at Sage Lakes Golf Course in Idaho Falls?
JAKE RUTHERFORD, who attended Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy and played three sports at Post Falls High, has developed into a key member of the Gonzaga baseball team’s pitching staff.
Rutherford, a 6-foot-2 redshirt junior right-hander, was named West Coast Conference Pitcher of the Week, the conference announced Monday.
Rutherford pitched a complete-game shutout in Gonzaga’s 3-0 win over visiting Saint Mary’s on Sunday. He struck out 10 — one short of a career-high set against Portland two weeks earlier — and walked one in a 121-pitch outing.
According to the Zags, Rutherford is both the first Zags pitcher since Alek Jacob in 2021 to record a nine-inning shutout, and the first with multiple complete-game outings in the same season since then.
Sunday’s win moved him to 4-1 with a 3.47 ERA over nine starts, with two complete games and three outings of eight innings or more.
In his first three seasons with the Zags — counting the COVID-shortened season in 2020 — Rutherford logged a total of 28 innings, with no starts.
This season, he’s already pitched 68 innings, and is tied for the team lead in wins for Gonzaga (18-27, 14-10 West Coast Conference)
In recent weeks, he’s become the Zags’ “Sunday Starter” — the starting pitcher for the third game of a three-game weekend series in league.
And another local product doing well in college.
Mark Nelke is sports editor of The Press. He can be reached at 208-664-8176, Ext. 2019, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @CdAPressSports.