By John Boyle Herald Writer
MILL CREEK — For a lot of athletes, doing their best, regardless of the outcome, is good enough.
Kyle Cornett is not one of those athletes.
Cornett, a junior at Jackson High School, won’t be teeing off at the state tournament this morning hoping to do well; he is expecting it. It’s not so much that he’d like to win state, but that he’ll be disappointed if he doesn’t.
“That’s been my main goal this year, to win state,” said Cornett, who tied for sixth at state as a sophomore. “I want to win.”
It’s not that Cornett is cocky. Far from it in fact. Other than an ability to play golf at a very high level, he’s your typical, unassuming, soft-spoken high school junior. But when it comes to golf, Cornett not only welcomes pressure, he thrives on it.
When Cornett was playing in the Bill Egbers Memorial Tournament earlier this month, he went to the 18th tee and found out he was tied for the lead. Knowing he needed a birdie to win, Cornett made birdie to win a tournament over a 128-player field which included many of the top high school players from the area.
“He’s a competitor,” said Jackson coach Jim Anderson. “You look at him, and he just loves to compete. He’s driven, he wants to be the best … A lot of people win because somebody else falters, but he won because he had to get the birdie, he knew he had to get the birdie, and he went out and did it. That’s just the type of competitor he is.”
If Cornett does live up to his own lofty expectations by winning a state title over the next two days, he figures one of the biggest reasons will the short game he calls the strength of his golf game. And it’s not an accident that a self-described “golf junkie” would find success that way. Plenty of golfers have the talent and athleticism to strike a golf ball far and strike it purely. But not many are willing to work as hard at Cornett when it comes to putting in the countless hours it takes to master the finer parts of the game. Cornett estimates that he spends seven hours a day at the golf course during the summer, and three-to-four hours per day during the school year.
“He’s driven,” Anderson said. “He doesn’t let outside distractions affect him or anything like that. He’s very focused. He wants to play college golf, and he realizes to do that, he has to score well, and to score well you’ve got to put the time in. A lot of people want to score well, but they’re not willing to come out here and be by themselves, hitting in the rain, but Kyle loves that … He’s hard on himself. If something is going wrong, he wants to fix it right away. That’s kind of a coach’s dream.”
And as confident as Cornett is, he is also realistic enough to know that he needs to play very well over the next two days to reach his goal of winning state. The talented 4A field includes defending state champion Dominick Francks, a senior at Olympia High who will play at Stanford next year. Also expected to contend is Eastlake’s Li Wang, last year’s runner up.
Last year Cornett was happy to be in contention behind those golfers, though he does concede that, having shot 73-75 to finish seven strokes out, “I would have liked to finish better on the second day.”
This year, however, simply being in contention won’t satisfy Cornett.
“Any time you’re close to the lead, you gain experience, so that will definitely help,” he said. “But this year I feel like if I play my best, I can win.”
Herald Writer John Boyle: email@example.com.
Boys | Hangman Valley, Spokane
7:30 a.m.—Anthony Allen (Arlington); 7:57 a.m.—Kyle Cornett (Jackson); 8:06 a.m.—Brian Moon (Kamiak); 8:15 a.m.—Joe Fryer (Kamiak); 8:24 a.m.—Chris Hatch (Kamiak), David Won (Jackson); 8:33 a.m.—Austin Sigl (Lake Stevens); 8:51 a.m.—Matt Kornegay (Kamiak); 9:27 a.m.—Halen Davis (Stanwood); 9:45 a.m.—Conner Bayha (Lake Stevens); 10:03 a.m.—Zach Martinson (Snohomish); 10:21 a.m.—Sean Brill (Snohomish); 10:39 a.m.—Jack Lindley (Arlington).
Girls | MeadowWood, Spokane
9:45 a.m.—Laura Gay (Jackson); 10:12 a.m.—Grace Choi (Kamiak); 10:21 a.m.—Bailey Wells (Snohomish); 10:39 a.m.—Jade Borseth (Stanwood); 10:48 a.m.—Juliana Jorgenson (Kamiak); 10:57 a.m.—Katherine Choi (Kamiak), Missy Colegrove (Snohomish); 11:06 a.m.—Sung Byun (Edmonds-Woodway), Hannah Lee (Kamiak), Dani Weir (Snohomish); 11:15 a.m.—Lauren Grogan (Arlington), Ashley Holten (Snohomish), Mady Kornegay (Kamiak).
Boys | Indian Canyon, Spokane, Par 72
7:35 a.m.—Chris Babcock (Shorewood); 7:43 a.m.—Rudy Caparas (Lynnwood); 8:39 a.m.—Conner Denessen (Glacier Peak); 9:11 a.m.—Jared Heman (Everett); 9:43 a.m.—TJ Lewis (Everett); 10:07 a.m.—Ben Richards (Glacier Peak); 10:31 a.m.—Taylor Gildersleeve (Glacier Peak); 10:47 a.m.—Trent Jones (Shorecrest), 10:47 a.m.—Alex Raynor (Everett); 10:55 a.m.—Gage St. John (Marysville-Getchell); 11:03 a.m.—David Fugate (Marysville-Getchell), Mike Simpson (Everett); 11:11 a.m.—Jamie Wright (Shorewood).
Girls | Esmeralda, Spokane
7:38 a.m.—Cassie McKinley (Shorewood); 8:10 a.m.—Jody Barhanovich (Everett); 8:26 a.m.—Annie Leete (Oak Harbor); 9:22 a.m.—Stephanie English (Marysville-Getchell); 10:02 a.m.—Izzy Maza (Lynnwood); 10:18 a.m.—Vicki Lee (Lynnwood), Audrey Penner (Shorecrest); 10:26 a.m.—Alisa Wilson (Glacier Peak); 10:34 a.m.—Allison Jones (Shorecrest); 10:42 a.m.—Ashley Gaston (Shorecrest), April King (Mountlake Terrace); 10:50 a.m.—Junelle Broulette (Shorewood), Michele Hairell (Mountlake Terrace), Claire Mrozek (Shorecrest).
Boys | The Classic Golf Course, Spanaway
10:42 a.m.—Harrison Price (South Whidbey); 11:09 a.m.—Ryan Fenton (Archbishop Murphy); 11:36 a.m.— Jesse Portillo (South Whidbey); 1:15 p.m.—Sevryn Modahl (Archbishop Murphy).
Girls | Lake Spanaway Golf Course, Spanaway
8:24 a.m.—Jenna Kaik (South Whidbey); 9:09 a.m.—Kaylee Diggs (Lakewood); 9:18 a.m.—Caitlin Brenner (Cedarcrest), Nina Forsell (Lakewood); 10:21 a.m.—Shannon Thacker (Archbishop Murphy).
Boys | The Home Course, Dupont
8:06 a.m.—Austin Fields (Coupeville); 9 a.m.—Jeffrey Coats (King’s); 10:21 a.m. Jonathan Dang (King’s).
Girls | The Home Course, Dupont
Noon—Jordan Wyrick (King’s); 12:09 p.m.—Kendra Meeker (Friday Harbor); 12:18 p.m.—Christine Fields (Coupeville); 1:03 p.m.—Kathryn Coshow (King’s).