By Rich Myhre Herald Writer
LYNNWOOD — After one day, junior Rudy Caparas of Lynnwood High School was feeling good about his chances at last year’s Class 4A state golf tournament. He was, after all, in a four-way tie for first place with a 2-under-par 70 at Camas Meadows Golf Course in Camas.
The second day was a different story.
The problems began with a dramatic change in the weather. Players enjoyed bright, balmy weather for their opening round, but later that afternoon the rain showers began, and they never let up overnight and into the next day.
As usually happens, the falling raindrops meant rising scores. And so it was for Caparas, though unfortunately his score climbed higher than most.
On a day of frustration, he played the second round in 8-over 80 and slipped to a tie for fifth place. It was a decent finish, but still far short of a coveted state championship.
Looking back almost a year later, “I really didn’t adapt enough to the weather,” Caparas said. “I was soaked. But I also feel the pressure got to me a little bit.” It was, he explained, “the pressure of wanting myself to do well.”
Caparas has played competitive golf for several years, “and I’ve taken many (disappointing) losses before,” he said. “But state (last year) was a major one because I was in contention to win.”
“He was very disappointed,” confirmed Lynnwood coach Alex Pfeiffer. “I think he felt he could’ve won it. If just a few things (were different) I think he felt he would’ve shot a better score and things would’ve panned out better.”
Though the rain “is not necessarily an excuse because everybody had to play in it … it had an impact (on him),” Pfeiffer added.
But in life, as in the weather, the clouds eventually pass. Caparas has begun his senior season and is once more taking aim at the state title that eluded him a year ago.
Last year’s state setback “sparked something in me,” he said. “I want to practice more than I did last year, and to completely be out there (all the time). I set a big goal for myself (of winning district and state championships) and I want to achieve it.”
Caparas got his start in golf as a young boy at Seattle’s Jefferson Park Golf Course. Later the family moved to Arlington and he began playing mostly at Stanwood’s Kayak Point Golf Course. A few years later the family moved again, this time to Lynnwood, and he started spending much of his time at Everett’s Walter E. Hall Golf Course.
Working with his father Junior Caparas, a golf instructor, Rudy Caparas has polished a swing that often allows him to hit further down the fairway than most rivals. And according to his coach, caution is a word that Caparas uses sparingly.
“His approach is that he likes to be very aggressive on the course,” Pfeiffer said. “He often tries to use his driver, which is a strength of his, as a little bit of intimidation of the other guys. He gambles a little bit, but even if (his ball) is not in the fairway it’s still worth it for him. I’ve seen him makes mistakes, but then he’s good enough to recover.”
Caparas was the Class 4A District 1 medalist a year ago, “and he’s very hungry and very motivated to defend that district championship this year,” Pfeiffer said. “Then he definitely wants to improve at state. I think that’s the main motivating factor for him.
“He wants to prove that he can compete at a high level consistently, and I also think he has the ability to do so.”
There is still plenty of golf to play before the state tournament in late May, but for Caparas that goal is never very far away.
To win a state championship, he said, “would accomplish my goals. And it would be a feeling of accomplishment and pride that I did well, and all that hard work and practice did get me somewhere.”