BELLINGHAM - It was as if Blaine's Ryan Wallen and Lynden Christian's Willy Scholten were alone.
The ease of their play, the effortless drives followed by playful jesting between holes at the North Bellingham Golf Course downplayed the battle going on between the two top golfers at the 1A Northwest District boys' golf tournament on Thursday, May 9.
"Me and Willy always talk about it on the first tee. It's just like we're coming out here and playing for fun," Wallen said. "It's like we both just drove up here and we're having a friendly match... It always comes down to the end between us."
Wallen ended up besting his friend by a single stroke, shooting a round of 70 to Scholten's 71.
Scholten, though, wasn't without his opportunities to win, but four bogeys over the final nine holes gave Wallen the opportunity he needed to grasp the lead.
And grasp it he did.
At the par-5 sixth, Wallen sunk a 50-foot eagle putt that sat just on the edge of the hole before falling in.
"Right as I hit it, I knew it was a decent put," Wallen said. "I couldn't tell it was sitting on the edge, so I didn't know if it would drop or not, and then I saw it drop and I thought that was pretty cool."
The game of inches that Wallen found himself on the better end of was quite the opposite for Scholten, who found himself just inches short on the third and fifth hole, both resulting in bogeys.
"Golf is a game of inches," Scholten reiterated. "Inches away from getting a birdie, and inches away from getting a bogey."
A birdie putt for Scholten on the fourth hole rolled just to the edge, but it just wouldn't fall into the fickle hole resulting in a par and a missed opportunity. Fortunately for Scholten, Wallen missed a par putt on the same hole giving him a bogey and bringing the match back to within one stroke.
Wallen's birdie on six, though, gave him the extra shot he would needed to top Scholten, although both certainly meet again at the Class 1A Tri-Districts in a chance to head to state.
Thursday, May 9 results
CLASS 1A NORTHWEST DISTRICT TOURNAMENT
At North Bellingham Golf Course
Team scores: Ryan Wallen (Blaine) 70, Willy Scholten (Lynden Christian) 71, Devan Boucher (Blaine) 77, Weber Bartz (Lynden Christian) 77, Drake VanderYacht (Meridian) 78, Luke Olson (Lynden Christian) 79, Kristjan Toivola (Mount Baker) 80, Kenny Wilson (Mount Baker) 81, Dillon Vander Hoek (Lynden Christian) 82, Matt Multop (Mount Baker) 82, Lincoln Olson (Lynden Christian) 83, Jesse Feddema (Lynden Christian) 85, Dillon Gorum (Mount Baker) 86, Antonie Inthavong (Blaine) 90, Nick Rautenberg (Meridian) 90, John Kihm (Meridian) 92, Joel Eschbach (Meridian) 93, Zach Blackwelder (Meridian) 93, Denis Kashubin (Mount Baker) 93, Trevin Todd (Meridian) 95