As a graduating senior, Bothell High’s Darcie Richmond knew this was her last chance to make a splash at the 4A Kingco District Tournament and earn a coveted berth into this week’s state championships. To ensure her game was in top shape, in the days leading up to the event, Richmond was most likely to be found at home … on the range.
“I put in a lot of range hours and playing time every day,” said Richmond of her pre-tournament practice regimen. “I worked on everything, but the short game is most important … lots of chipping and putting.”
As Richmond arrived at a cold and wet Snohomish Golf Course early last Tuesday morning with the rest of her team, little did she know at the time that she was about to shoot the round of her life.
She started out strong, sticking a tee shot to within 2 feet on an early par-3 hole and tapping in for birdie. From there, Richmond’s confidence began to build with every shot.
“Knowing I was hitting the ball well gave me a lot of confidence, I was able to take a lot more risks,” Richmond said. “I took more time to think about each shot.”
Richmond, who has yet to record a hole-in-one, had another close call on the 135-yard 11th, an uphill par-3 where the golfer cannot see the hole from the tee box.
“I hit my shot … and then some of the parents started cheering really loud,” Richmond recalled. “I thought it might have gone in, but apparently it spun back right over the edge of the cup.”
And perhaps no shot during her spectacular round was more important than a short knee-knocker on the 18th, which she had to sink in order to break 70 for the first time in her competitive golfing career.
“Oh yeah, I knew the score,” Richmond said with a laugh. “I was really nervous and relieved when it dropped in.”
Richmond credits Bothell head golf coach Shawn McGann, whom she had as a teacher in seventh grade, with helping her tap into her potential as a golfer.
“He is different than our previous coach … Mr. McGann takes the game more seriously (but) makes sure we have fun doing it. We practice longer, and focus on setting goals.”
A testament to McGann’s ability to work with players is the story of Bothell junior Katelyn Flanigan, who Richmond described as a “beginner” to the game coming into the season. Flanigan improved steadily under McGann’s tutelage and played some of her best golf at the district tournament, finishing 17th — only one spot shy of making the All-Kingco team.
How difficult would it be for an athlete like Richmond to leave the team as a graduating senior?
“Really difficult,” Richmond said. “I made a lot of friends not just on the team, but in the whole Kingco league. It was really hard to play my last golf match, but I am looking forward to what the future holds.”
The future for Richmond is at the University of Washington, where she plans to study recreational therapy and hopes to one day work with kids at Children’s Hospital. Richmond also is looking forward to being one of the catalysts on a very young Husky girls golf team, composed mainly of freshmen and sophomores.
“I’m definitely excited, I got a chance to meet some of the girls on the team last week. It should be really fun,” she said.
In the meantime, she has one more piece of unfinished business as a high-school golfer before she trades her blue-and-white Bothell colors for UW’s trademark purple and gold — this week’s state championships at Sudden Valley Golf and Country Club in Bellingham.
“My goal is always to improve,” Richmond said. “I placed last year, and with the success at Kingco, it gave me extra confidence going into state —I’m feeling good about my game. I’m in it to win it.”