Wilson living up to his name at Mount Baker

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMay 25, 2014 

14 GLF rup

Mount Baker's Kenneth Wilson chips to the green as Mount Baker, Sehome and Squalicum boys' golf teams play at Lake Padden on Thursday, March 13, 2014 in Bellingham.

ANDY BRONSON — THE BELLINGHAM HERALD Buy Photo

Being a golfer with the last name Wilson at Mount Baker High School carries a high level of expectation - a natural assumption the name is linked to low scores and state tournaments.

Dustan Wilson, a 2010 graduate, placed sixth his senior year at the Class 2A State Tournament and was a first-team All-NWC selection. His sister Laura Wilson, who graduated last spring, was a three-time state participant and as a senior placed 11th during the Class 1A State Tournament.

Kenneth Wilson is the latest to make his mark on the Mountaineers' golf program.

He became the first boys' Baker golfer to win the district tournament two weeks ago, ranks among the top Northwest Conference leaders in scoring average and will be competing in his third consecutive state tournament when the Class 1A State Championship gets underway Wednesday, May 28, at Lake Spanaway Golf Course.

"He is having an excellent year," Mount Baker coach Chad Hoidal said in a phone interview, "one of the best in school history if you look at the averages. It's cool to see where he is at."

Hoidal didn't need much time to recognize Kenneth's skill. As a freshman, Hoidal saw his young prospect's swing and knew he'd be the team's future No. 1 golfer.

Kenneth enjoyed success early on. He was a part of Mount Baker's veteran 2012 Northwest District-winning team, and it was at that tournament Hoidal recognized Kenneth's largest strength.

"Consistency," said Hoidal without hesitation. "You watch him compared to others; they have a lot of blowup holes. You watch him play for 18 holes; he hits the same shot over and over again. It's very fun to watch. ... Ever since he was a sophomore I could see that in him."

Hoidal realized Kenneth had "ice in his veins," and the Baker golfer said he learned the value of consistent play from watching Dustan handle course adversity.

"I watched his matches, and you'd watch those golfers get upset after bad holes, and it would completely change their swing and attitude," Kenneth said. "My dad's always told me you have to let those holes go and move on."

And Kenneth has done just that.

Even at the district tournament, he started with a bogey and battled back. Hoidal said the narrative has followed suit throughout his entire season.

"Consistency, to me, is what gets the low scores," Kenneth said. "If you're all over the place, you're not going to have a good round. You have to make sure you give your best on every shot and hope for the best."

Kenneth's game has always been fairly well-rounded, Hoidal said, but he has improved much more off the tee this spring. Hoidal called him a "fairway finder."

The senior bulked up during the offseason, and it's helped him drive the ball farther to go along with his increased accuracy.

"I'm definitely hitting it longer," Kenneth said. "That helps with iron shots. Short game is kind of coming better, not up and down. Coach Hoidal has done wonders for my short game."

Kenneth now heads to 1A state already with a 12th-place finish last year, when he fired a two-day 157. He's aiming for a top-four or sixth-place finish this time, he said. A top five finish would make him the highest finisher between Dustan and Laura.

"As a freshman, I was (worried) I was not going to meet the expectations," Kenneth said. "They expected me to be as good as Dustan. He showed me a lot, and he was my coach along with Coach Hoidal. They both helped me in my game."

Reach Andrew Lang at andrew.lang@bellinghamherald.com or call 360-756-2862. Follow @bhamsports on Twitter for Whatcom County sports updates.

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

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