Many golf tournaments in which Michiel Eyre has played — and there have been a lot of them in the past 15 years — have come down to who putted best.
That’s where the West Salem High School senior is investing his practice time.
West Salem coach Howard Robertson said Eyre worked on his putting for an hour and 15 minutes Sunday night.
The next morning, Eyre was consistent at Creekside Golf Club in the final regular-season Greater Valley Conference boys meet, recording three birdies on his way to a round of 72 to win the meet by five strokes.
“The game is all putting,” said Eyre, who has won four of five regular-season tournaments this season. “That’s where it’s won and lost, and that’s what I’m putting pretty much all my time into right now is just working on my putting and getting the ball down in the hole.”
McNary senior Brady Sparks placed second with a 77, and West Albany’s Jaxson Daskalos — the only player to beat Eyre in a GVC meet this season — placed third with a 78.
Although Eyre, the Central Valley Conference champion two years ago, is the favorite to win the GVC district championship in the May 4 and 5 meet at Trysting Tree Golf Course, West Albany pretty much locked up the league’s one automatic state tournament team berth Monday.
The Bulldogs won the meet with a score of 329, with West Salem second with 332 and McNary third with 340.
In the scoring system the league is using, West Albany has 38 points heading to the district tournament — 16 points will be awarded for winning, 14 for second and 12 for third — while West Salem has 34 and McNary 33.
“I think it’s a fairer system, even though it hurts us,” Robertson said. “The best team from the league right now is going to go, and the way they’re playing right now, West Albany is playing the best from top to bottom.”
There is a significant change in the state qualifying procedure this season.
The top team and two individuals from the league automatically qualify for the May 18 and 19 Class 6A state tournament at Emerald Valley Golf Course in Creswell.
The next three teams and five individuals qualify for the regional tournament May 11 at Tokatee Golf Club in Blue River.
The top two teams and five individuals from the regional tournament, which includes the GVC and Southwest Conference, qualify for the state tournament.
“That’s a row to hoe for us to get back up to first,” McNary coach Rick Ward said. “It almost certainly puts us going to regional at Tokatee. We played there last week in our invitational. We like the course. We know the course. That’s an advantage for us, I think.”
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GVC boys meet
Team scores: West Albany 329, West Salem 332, McNary 340, McMinnville 347, South Salem 373, Sprague 383, Forest Grove 399.
At Creekside Golf Club
Medalist: Michiel Eyre (WS) 72.
West Salem: A. Eyre 81, Papendieck 84, Kent 95, Campbell 97.
McNary: Sparks 77, Papke 81, Potmesil 86, Hancock 96, Raschko 104.
South Salem: Jensen 83, Goltiao 91, Lawrence 93, De Joode 106, Currie 115.
Sprague: Kimball 88, Martinez 89, Reyes 98, Cook 108, Jacobs 112.
North Salem: Watson 144.
McKay: Shafer 101.