Arlington's Allen hopes hours on course pay off
Dan Bates / The Herald
Arlington's Anthony Allen finishes the 11th hole during the Tom Dolan Invitational Golf Tournament at Everett Golf and Country Club in April. Allen shot a 73 to finish tied for first place with Jackson's Kyle Cornett. Allen and Cornett will likely be dueling in the district tournament, which begins today and finishes up Tuesday.
The star of the Arlington boys golf team is determined to make the most of his senior year. Therefore, Allen is putting in every effort necessary to make his final high school season a memorable one.
"It's my senior year and I want to look back with no regrets, be able to say I gave my all," said Allen, who today begins the defense of his 4A Northwest District title. "I want to look back at this season and be proud that I gave it all I've got."
Allen is among the contenders to win the 4A Northwest District tournament, which takes place today and Tuesday at Legion Memorial Golf Course in Everett. He won last year's title with a two-round score of 144, beating out Jackson's Kyle Cornett by a single stroke.
And Allen has spent the past year preparing himself for these next 10 days.
"Every facet of his game is solid because he practices everything," first-year Arlington coach Kevin Coghill said. "If he's off on something, he's working on it the next day. He has no real weaknesses to his game, but the best facet is his mind and his dedication to the game. He has the ability to work hard and figure things out for himself."
Allen has been golfing most of his life. He began playing competitively at the tender age of 8 when he joined the Washington Junior Golf Association. But he said he's never worked as hard on his game as he has the last year.
"This year I've practiced a lot more," Allen said. "I've been the one who's first on the course for practice, and I'm one of the last to leave, working on putting and chipping. You get out what you put in, and that's something I've lived by this year."
But it's not just the physical side of the game Allen has worked on. Allen has also worked on the mental aspects of what can be a frustrating game to master.
"I've worked a lot harder on the course, but I've also worked on the mental part of the game, which has saved me in some rounds," Allen said.
"If I'm not hitting the ball great, I'm able to overcome it rather than hitting bad shots over and over," Allen added. "I'm better able to grind it out."
So far the work has paid off. This year Allen's handicap index is 71.8. That's down from what he estimated was a 73.2 handicap index last year. He claimed medalist honors at four of the five Wesco 4A North matches. His efforts have earned him a place on the Western Washington University men's golf team next season.
"My game is good," Allen said. "I'm hitting the ball well, so I'm excited for districts."
Allen didn't have his best round during last Thursday's Wesco 4A league championship at Walter Hall Golf Course in Everett. His 78 was 10 shots behind medalist Rudy Caparas of Lynnwood. To defend his district title he will have to overcome the likes of Caparas and Cornett, the defending 4A state champion. Nevertheless, Allen and Coghill are optimistic.
"I think his chances are good," Coghill said. "In the Wesco North he won four of the five matches. There will be more competition at district as the South has three or four good golfers who are a lot closer. But he's got a chance."
While Allen is hoping to tack another district championship to the accomplishment list, he is also peeking ahead to the 4A state tournament May 21-22 at Camas Meadows Golf Course. Allen hasn't had much luck at state during his prep career. Last year he shot a disappointing 80 his first round and couldn't recover. He finished 18th with a two-round score of 158.
Much of Allen's work this season has been dedicated toward improving his results at state.
"Last year was unfortunate," Allen said. "I got sick the morning of the first round and tried to play through it, but I didn't play the way I should have played. I've never really performed at state, which is frustrating. I want to prove myself this year at state, prove that I can be a contender."
So what does Allen believe he needs to do to prove himself?
"I think my goal is to be in the top five and potentially win," Allen said. "I want to be able to say I did that, and I think I can do that this year."
If he can accomplish that, all that hard work will have been worth it.
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