Playing a course that he likened to a hybrid between Sequim’s Sunland and The Cedars at Dungeness, Ben Sweet was primed for a big weekend.
The Sequim High senior nearly topped the field at the class 2A state tournament at Capitol City Golf Club in Olympia on May 24 and 25, getting edged by Zach Miller of White River in a one-hole playoff after the two played identical rounds of 71 in both rounds.
“It was definitely heartbreaking, losing that playoff, but at the end of the day, I did a lot of reflecting: he had to make that 10-foot birdie putt to win,” Sweet said.
“It was a great way to end my high school career.”
Sweet and fellow senior Dominic Riccobene qualified for the second day; after a first day round of 77, Riccobene finished with a two-day total of 153, placing 15th overall. Junior teammate Cole Smithson shot a 117 on the first day.
Their scores combined to help the Wolves place fifth overall, in the first state tourney held in the past three years; the 2020 season was canceled and 2021 saw only regional tournaments held.
Sequim’s Hannah Wagner made the second day cut with a 90 on day one and finished with a 181 score overall, good for 24th place.
Said Sweet, who placed 21st at state as a freshman in 2019, “I was really happy to have (a state tourney) this year.”
“There’s nothing like having that team experience, to travel with a group of guys,” he said. “Our team has a great chemistry; you couldn’t ask for a better team.”
The Capitol City course, Sweet said, had greens that play like The Cedars and tees like Sunland, Sweet noted.
“That set up great for us as team,” he said.
After the first round, Sweet and two others were tied for second place, two shots back of Centralia’s Von Wasson. Sweet joined Miller and Wasson in the second day’s trio, and while Wasson faded into a fourth place finish Miller and Sweet battled neck and neck.
“It was an unbelievable battle,” Sequim coach Sean O’Mera said. “It was incredibly impressive. [Ben] had tons of pressure all day,” O’Mera said.
“He knew exactly how his competitors were doing.”
Sweet made a clutch 16-foot putt on the 16th hole to take a brief lead, but Miller came back to tie on the 18th to force the sudden-death playoff. Sweet wound up two-putting and Miller was able to end it with one putt.
“[It was] still great to place second,” said Sweet, who moves on to play at Whitman College in Walla Walla this fall. “There were some serious players in that event.”
Burlington-Edison, which had five golfers make the second-day cut and finish between ninth and 19th place, won the state 2A boys team championship with 131 points.
Winning the 2A girls title was Brooke Gelinas of White River with a two-day score of 141. The White River girls also won the state team title.
Peninsula Daily News sports editor Pierre LaBossierre contributed to this story.