St. Mary’s senior Josh Wu was able to live out every teenage golfer’s dream Tuesday when Wu drained crucial 5-foot putt on his 36th and final holes to clinch individual state championships by one stroke in the 3A/2A/1A tourney with a 146 (72-74).
In doing so Wu, who secured his first state title and the fourth straight by a member of his family after holding off a valiant late charge from Cascade Christian senior Max Davis. Older brother Dylan Wu won in 2013 and ‘14 and twin brother Jeremy Wu set an 18-hole record en route to earning his title in 2015.
“It was awesome and definitely a fun way to end your senior year, especially knowing I’m the last Wu completing the dynasty,” said Josh Wu, who shared the Day 1 lead and was in control of his destiny until a nerve-wracking back nine at Emerald Valley Golf Club in Creswell.
Wu, the Air Force-bound senior opened a five-shot lead through 27 holes but couldn’t help but get distracted by the opportunity ahead of him and saw that edge erased by Davis by hole No. 15 on the back nine. Wu bogeyed four of his first six holes on the final nine and Davis caught fire with three birdies against one bogey to nab a one-shot advantage.
With his back against the wall, Wu responded by chipping in from 30 yards out for a birdie on the 16th hole to pull even with Davis and, after both lipped out par putts on No. 17, the Medford teens moved to the final hole with the title on the line.
Davis’ approach shot from 100 yards out was “perfect,” according to Wu, and left him with a 10-foot uphill birdie attempt. Wu answered with a 25-yard chip that landed 5 feet above the hole.
After Davis saw another putt lip out, Wu gave himself a pep talk and rolled his putt in for victory.
“Luckily the past three weeks I’ve been grinding every night waiting for this opportunity,” said Wu. “I knew I was a good enough player to win, I just needed to stay confident. I just told myself let’s just go and do it and reminded myself to keep my head down and struck it pure right in the heart.”
The winning birdie putt sparked a scream in celebration by Wu, who gained a lot of self-satisfaction from staving off a strong surge by Davis.
“I’m glad it ended up that way,” Wu said of being taken to the wire. “Max played really well and they’re entire team played great. I’m really proud of myself for being able to hold on because it’s tough knowing your opponent and friend you’re playing against is really playing well and has all the momentum and you don’t.”
Defending champion Jeremy Wu tied for seventh at 156 (77-79) for St. Mary’s. With a win by Rogue River’s Kevin Murphy in 2012, the Rogue Valley has now produced the last five state champions at the 3A/2A/1A level.
St. Mary’s Boy’s golf team finished 3rd overall with a total two day score of 671.
TEAM SCORES: Cascade Christian 320-326—646, Regis 333-337—670, St. Mary’s 330-341—671, Oregon Episcopal 361-354—715, Oakridge 356-368—724, Portland Adventist 371-369—740, Blanchet Catholic 374-375—749, Taft 366-384—750, Westside Christian 383-401—784, Heppner/Ione 394-408—802, Burns 409-404—813, Vale 423-399—822, Nixyaawii 428-403—831.
INDIVIDUAL SCORES (Top 5): 1, Josh Wu, St. Mary’s, 72-74—146; 2, Max Davis, Cascade Christian, 76-71—147; 3, Dayne Miller, Creswell, 72-77—149; T4, Kyle Humphreys, Regis, 78-76—154, and Joel Snyder, Oakridge, 73-81—154, and Tate Lightle, Lakeview, 75-79—154.
ST. MARY’S (671): 1, Josh Wu, 72-74—146; T7, Jeremy Wu, 77-79—156; T22, Max Lewis, 86-92—178; T40, Reese Lam, 95-96—191, and Kodiak Yaeger, 95-96—191.
Article Originally Appeared in Mail Tribune:http://www.mailtribune.com/article/20160518/VARSITY/160519631