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Bend Bombers golf team takes 2nd in PGA Jr. regionals after tie-breaker with defending champs

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Eleven-year-old Holden Baird and eight other young golfers traveled to Canyon Springs golf course in Twin Falls, Idaho this past weekend to compete in the PGA Jr. Regional Championships. 

The golfers made up the Bend Bombers, an all-star team made up of 10- to 13-year-olds from Central Oregon.

The Bend all-stars include Roman Westhoff, Bryden Ditty, Owen Greenough, Nolan Goodman, Myles Langford, Calvin Langford, Holden Baird, and Tyler Eckerle.

At this year's PGA Jr. regional championship, the Bombers took second place. They lost to the reigning national champions from Utah in a tie-breaker.

“We knew from the beginning it was going to be really tough to beat that team, they won the nationals last year,” Baird said Tuesday. 

The competition takes multiple pairs from each team.

The Bombers pairs tied the Thanksgiving Point all-stars from Utah at six points.

However, Utah won 12 holes while Bend won eight, and Thanksgiving Point won the tie-breaker. 

“If we could get some of those putts to drop, we could have had it,” Baird said while taking some practice swings at Tetherow Golf Course. 

Baird said he and his team were happy to even make the finals, qualifying as a second seed and beating a Washington team in the semis.

Baird and his partner, Bryden Ditty, matched up against the son and nephew of PGA star Tony Finau.

After getting a picture, of course, Baird kept it professional.

“That was awesome, but at the end of the day Tony Finau is just another guy who happens to be really good at golf,” Baird said with a pause. “It was pretty cool playing with him, though.”

Baird and Ditty ultimately out played the Finau duo, but the Bombers as a team came up short.

However, Coach Ryan Smith said it'll inspire his boys for next year. 

"We’ll lose a couple players, but we have so many great junior golfers in Central Orego,n I think we’ll be back stronger than ever next year,” Smith said. 

Baird felt the same way.

“It was heartbreaking that we lost, but we did awesome, and I think we can win it next year,” Baird said.

Last year, the Bombers were the first-ever team from Bend to make regionals.

Smith said they weren’t really competitive, and just a little too young and inexperienced.

He feels this year’s result is a positive step forward.

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Noah Chast

Noah Chast is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Noah here.


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