Additions of Roth, Troutman have reinforced already strong Bellingham golf team

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMay 19, 2013 

Bellingham sophomore golfer Cody Roth shot between a 37 and 40 during nine-hole rounds last year. He played JV. E.J. Troutman, more known for his tennis stroke than his golf swing, didn't play for the Red Raiders last spring.

The duo's bolstered Bellingham's varsity lineup this year and may be what the Red Raiders need to finish an already impressive season with an accomplishment they last achieved in 2010 - a state championship.

Bellingham got the pieces it needed to be title contender at the beginning of the season, and the Red Raiders' roster has fit together perfectly.

Taylor Paul, Peter Kolodychuk, Roth, Troutman and state alternate Rees Kruhlak will try to make their final goal reality when they tee off for the Class 2A State Tournament Tuesday, May 21, at Chambers Bay, the site of the 2015 PGA Tour U.S. Open Championship, in University Place.

"They've won the city championship, the conference and districts, and they have one more goal in mind, and that's a state title," Bellingham coach David Bobillot said in a phone interview.

The Red Raiders have as good a shot as anyone. Bellingham's four state golfers rank second most amongst competing schools. Only Sumner, which advanced five, has more. Bellingham could play five if a spot opens up for Kruhlak.

Varsity returners Paul, Kolodychuk, Kruhlak and Daniel Kim made Bellingham a conference favorite as soon as last year ended, but Roth and Troutman have made Bobillot's group even stronger.

Roth, a sophomore, was skilled enough to play varsity last season, but because he transferred from Squalicum he had to play junior varsity as a freshman.

"Last year was tough having to play JV," Roth admitted. "This season has shown me I can still play with the best. It's still golf, and it's still fun even if I had to play JV."

Roth didn't lose his competitive edge. He's earned medalist honors three times and his 71 was the best score of any Whatcom County golfer at last week's district tournament. His 77.7 scoring average in league tournaments ranks second in the Northwest Conference. Only Blaine's Ryan Wallen, who averaged a 73.7, has posted better numbers.

Bobillot raved about Roth's all-around game. He can drive the ball straight, chip, putt and is strong mentally, Bobillot said.

"He's the No. 1 player on our team, and he just keeps getting better and better every week," said the Red Raiders coach. "He leads by example and has a lot of good things to say to our other players. He's been a big influence."

Roth has logged significant hours with his teammates, though it's his first varsity season with them. They've played countless rounds during the offseason.

"We are all members at Sudden Valley," Roth said. "Forever we've been playing together. We try to get out everyday in the summer. It's been a lot of fun playing with each other."

Bellingham's offseason work has translated to a dominant year. The Red Raiders' 396.6 this season was more than eight points better than second-place Lynden , which averaged 404.7 per tournament.

Bobillot knew Roth's abilities all along, but Troutman has been a blessing, Bobillot said.

"The biggest surprise is E.J. Troutman," said Bellingham's coach. "I wouldn't have thought he'd come in and score 77's. He a big, tall guy. It's been the biggest surprise for me. I'd never met E.J. before."

Troutman will be pulling double duty next week. He'll head south to compete Friday and Saturday, May 24-25, in the Class 2A State Tennis Tournament at the Nordstrom Center in Seattle following his midweek golf state tournament. Troutman is matched with doubles partner Auden Schilder, who's in the middle of a state tournament run of his own as Bellingham soccer's starting goalkeeper.

"At the beginning of the season he wasn't sure about golf," said Bobillot of Troutman. "I told him not many people get to play in two state tournaments, if you qualify in golf, in the same week. He made it, and he leaves for tennis Friday."

While Bellingham will play at least four golfers at state, only Paul qualified for state last year, though Kolodychuk went in 2011. Paul finished 24th with a two-day 171, and Kolodychuck didn't make the cut two years ago.

"It is really fun, because it is something special you got here," Roth said. "Taylor and me are the top two players on the team, but if we don't play well, we have four, five or six kids that come in and put our team on their back. We have a lot of fun, and we have really good chemistry. It's fun being able to hand out on road trips."

And the trip north up Interstate 5 home from University Place next Wednesday will be much more special with a 2A championship trophy in the back of Bellingham's team van.

Reach Andrew Lang at andrew.lang@bellinghamherald.com or call 360-756-2862.

GOLF STATE TOURNAMENTS

CLASS 2A BOYS

At Chambers Bay in University Place

First round: Tuesday, May 21

CLASS 2A GIRLS

At The Classic Golf Club in Spanaway

First round: Tuesday, May 21

CLASS 1A BOYS AND GIRLS

At Lake Spanaway Golf Course in Spanaway

First round: Tuesday, May 21

Second place team in Northwest Conference standings and margin of final scores corrected.

Reach ANDREW LANG at andrew.lang@bellinghamherald.com or call ext. 862.

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