KEIZER — There was a train of thought that Andrew Eyre was going to walk away with all of the Greater Valley Conference boys golf tournaments this season.
After all, the West Salem High School junior placed sixth in the 6A state tournament last year after closing the season well and put more emphasis on golf this season by giving up basketball.
But a couple players from West Albany players are having a say.
West Albany’s Richie Mikesell shot 71 Monday at McNary Golf Club to earn medalist honors, beating teammate Jaxson Daskalos by two strokes. Eyre’s round of 74 put him in third.
“I think it’s way more fun,” Eyre said. “It’s definitely challenging, which makes me practice and makes me work out the kinks. I think it will help me at the end of the season.”
The challenge by Mikesell and Daskalos was not entirely unexpected.
They both placed in the top 15 at the state tournament a year ago and put in a lot of time on the game in the offseason.
Eyre now has competitors to chase.
His scores have come down in the last few tournaments, but when he bogeyed the final two holes Monday – hitting into the sand on No. 17 and into the water on No. 18 – didn’t help.
But with scores of 73 and 74 in the past two tournaments show he’s going in the right direction.
“Late in the last few tournaments we’ve all been around the same strokes,” Eyre said. “I think last one they were one better than me and this one they were one better as well. It’s definitely close and it will be fun to compete all season.”
McNary junior Casey Potsmeil, playing in the team’s No. 4 position, shot a stellar 76 to place a surprising fourth in Monday’s tournament individually.
West Albany won the tournament with 314 with West Salem second at 327 and McNary third at 331.
“We were 311 last week so we’re right there,” McNary coach Rick Ward said. “Disappointed we couldn’t do it today on our home course, but this is a hard course.”
McNary and West Albany are in a dead heat for the top spot in the conference with West Salem close behind, though the May 2-3 district meet will be the deciding tournament for which team wins the district championship.
bpoehler@StatesmanJournal.com, (503) 399-6701 or Twitter.com/bpoehler