Jackson High School freshman Chanyoung Park won the Class 4A state girls golf championship last Tuesday and Wednesday in Spokane. (Photo courtesy of Jerome Gotz)

Jackson High School freshman Chanyoung Park won the Class 4A state girls golf championship last Tuesday and Wednesday in Spokane. (Photo courtesy of Jerome Gotz)

Jackson’s Park caps spectacular frosh season with state title

Chanyoung Park eagled the final hole to clinch the Class 4A state girls golf championship.

It was the shot of the Class 4A state girls golf tournament.

Jackson High School freshman Chanyoung Park arrived at the final hole at Creek at Qualchan Golf Course in Spokane leading Camas’ Jacinda Lee by a single stroke. Bur Park was reeling, having stumbled down the stretch with a bogey on 16 and a drive into the trees on 17. The race to claim the individual state championship had tightened.

But after a good drive on the par-5 18th Park was faced with a decision, and she went for it.

Park chose to hit over the ravine and try and reach the green in two, and that decision proved decisive.

“The day before and during my practice round, I wasn’t sure if I could get over the ravine with my second shot,” Park said. “I was thinking of laying up. But I hit a really good drive, so I was about 190 yards out. I hit a 3 hybrid, it ended up on the green and I got a pretty lucky roll and bounce.”

The ball ended up three feet from the cup, giving Park what amounted to a tap-in eagle that clinched the state championship.

Park finished the two-round tournament, which took place last Tuesday and Wednesday, with back-to-back rounds of 1-over-par 73. Her 146 finished four strokes ahead of runner-up Lee.

“It was pretty crazy, I wasn’t really expecting (to win state),” Park said. “Just because I’m a freshman and a couple of the girls in 4A sometimes score better than me in other tournaments.”

“She’s a real quiet kid, but she is businesslike,” Jackson coach Jerome Gotz said. “She has ice water in her veins on the course. For a 14-year-old she is amazing.”

The arrival of Park, a prolific junior golfer, at Jackson was “highly anticipated,” according to Gotz.

“She is an incredible talent and an incredible kid,” Gotz said.

“She’s unflappable,” Gotz added. “She drives the ball with extreme accuracy, she throws darts at the targets. Her opening round in high school golf at Walter Hall Golf Course went birdie, birdie, hole in one. That’s how her career started.”

The first season of Park’s high school career ended in equally spectacular fashion, winning titles at league, district, and now state.

“I feel like I played pretty well (at state) compared to the rest of my season,” Park said. “On the last day, on the last couple holes, I wasn’t playing very well — I think the pressure was getting to me. But on the last hole I was able to get the rhythm back.”

Park helped the Timberwolves, who qualified for state as a team for the first time, finish second in the team competition with a score of 680, which was only behind Camas’ 653.

“I feel really good about (finishing second),” Gotz said. “Every coach knows the potential of their players. I know the players are a little disappointed because a couple of them didn’t have their best rounds, but they held their heads high. They recovered on the second day and we have no seniors, so the team has already set a goal for next year of winning the state championship.”

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