FIRCREST — Wenatchee junior golfer Carson Huffaker, 15, is participating this week in the Washington Junior Golf Association State Championship at the Fircrest Golf Club.
Huffaker, a sophomore to be at Wenatchee High School, qualified for the championship by winning the sub-district tournament at Moses Lake Pointe. He shot an 80.
At the state championship on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, Huffaker is matching up against the best 14-15-year-old junior golfers in the state. In the first round on Wednesday, Huffaker tied for 104th with an 87.
“It was a really tough course. I was a little nervous at first, but once I got used to the course, it was fun,” Huffaker said.
Huffaker was paired up with some locals who knew the course well. He said it was fun to play with them. He shot 44 on the front nine.
“It started off okay and fell apart. I just could not hit a green to save my life. On the back nine, it got better then I fell apart again,” he said.
The driving game was working, Huffaker said, but he figures he lost seven strokes putting. The greens were fast with lots of slopes, he said.
Carson had his dad, mom, uncle, and grandma following him around on the course.
“We were having a blast. It was a beautiful day. The greens were in perfect condition. It was awesome. We had a great time,” said Carson’s dad, Neil
They could cheer for Carson, but no coaching was allowed.
“It’s pretty strict. They have marshals all over the course. You have to maintain at least 25 yards from the players so they don’t receive any coaching from parents or relatives,” Neil Huffaker said.
On the back nine, Neil Huffaker said Carson started to get a headache, which affected his play. He said Carson was having a hard time landing on the green with his approach shots.
“There are quite a few slopes at the course. When you hit the ball, it’s hard to figure out the right club with the wind. The greens are pretty challenging. There are a lot of false fronts on them,” Neil Huffaker said.
The leaders in the tournament were -3 after the first day. Carson Huffaker said those golfers had an advantage, knowing the course.
“They have memberships at the course, so they get to play it a lot. It was the first time for me. They knew the course a lot better,” Carson Huffaker said.
“You’ll notice a lot of the lower scores are from kids on this side of the hill. It’s more challenging for kids who have only played the course twice versus kids who are probably members here. That makes a big difference,” Neil Huffaker said.
Carson figures he’ll need to shoot in the high 60s to low 70s in the second round to make the cut. He feels confident he can do it. He tees off at 7:27 a.m. on Thursday.
“No matter what happens this week, it is a learning experience. He’s got a measuring stick for what the competition looks like out there. It gives him some fuel for the fire to work in the offseason,” Neil Huffaker said.