In battle of golf heavyweights, Skyline earns win over Eastlake
October 14, 2013
By Neil Pierson
There aren’t a lot of secrets on the golf course when Skyline High’s Brian Mogg and Ryan Johnson get together with Eastlake’s Spencer Weiss and RP McCoy.
The four players, who star for the two schools just a mile apart on the Sammamish Plateau, can often be found together on the links no matter what time of year it is.
“We’re all pretty good friends, and we play all the time in the offseason, hang out together, and it’s just a lot of fun,” said Mogg, a senior. “It’s just like a really friendly rivalry, but we all want to beat each other really bad.”
Weiss and McCoy – members of last year’s Class 4A state championship team – had only lost one dual match during their Eastlake careers, but they knew they were going to have a fight on their hands when the Wolves met Skyline Oct. 8 at The Plateau Club with the KingCo Conference regular-season title on the line.
Nothing was settled in the battle between the squads’ top-two players as Johnson, Mogg, Weiss and McCoy all finished with 3-over par 39s. But Skyline’s depth came through as the Spartans edged the Wolves, 194-199.
Skyline can clinch the outright league crown this week with victories at Inglemoor and Woodinville.
Wet and nippy conditions at The Plateau Club caused some difficulty for the players. The lead foursome ended their nine-hole round without a birdie between them.
“It was just a little wet out there – pretty hard to make solid contact,” said Johnson, a junior. “I managed to get a few up-and-downs to keep my round going, limit the damage a little bit. I had a good look at birdie there on the last hole, and I didn’t capitalize.”
On a day when no one wanted to make a big mistake, the Spartans did a slightly better job. Kelley Sullivan, a junior, shared medalist honors with Eastlake’s Scott Nielsen and Colby Stirrat at 2-over.
In the end, the difference-maker might have been junior Adam Nutt, who was listed as Skyline’s No. 7 player but shot 3-over to tie for second place and round out his team’s five scorers.
Conversely, Eastlake’s fifth scorer, sophomore Gabe Lysen, struggled en route to a 9-over 45.
Johnson wasn’t at his physical peak for the final two holes after injuring his back, yet he managed a par on the 433-yard, par-5 eighth hole, and would’ve had birdie on No. 9 if he hadn’t missed an eight-foot putt.
“The seventh hole, I had an uphill lie and just chunked it,” he said of his injury. “I’ve been having back problems all year, and it kind of hurt a little bit.”
McCoy said the slow greens were particularly challenging for him. The Eastlake senior said he was able to persist and put together a decent round.
“I was really looking forward to this match just because we don’t usually get this kind of challenge,” McCoy said, “and we’re all really excited for having really strong games, and we did our best to prepare for it.”
Weiss, who has given a verbal commitment to continue his golf career at the University of Washington, took a conservative approach to the match. He went exclusively with irons, rather than drivers, on all of his tee shots.
“This course is pretty tight off the tee, so I just decided to keep it in play instead of trying to make something happen,” he said. “It’s always iron off the tee here.”
While he admitted being disappointed with his short-game results, Weiss also didn’t make excuses about having a relatively high score.
“I hit the ball pretty well – I just couldn’t make any putts, and it’s kind of hard to make putts out here when the greens are bumpy and sanded,” he said. “But everybody has to go through it.”