Gilmore was the only golfer to card a round under par as he won the event by two strokes after shooting a final-round 71.
Now a senior at Spanish Springs, Gilmore is again proving he will be a golfer to beat this season.
Through two league tournaments, Gilmore has earned individual medalist at both RedHawk and WildCreek. He won the season-opening High Desert League tourney by seven strokes with a 75. He followed that up with a 71 the next week, which was 12 shots better than his closest competition.
And while he locked up a college scholarship to play for Nevada next year, he’s still as focused as ever in his pursuit of winning back-to-back regional titles and averaging under par for the season.
“He has his college scholarship, and it would be easy for him to just kind of lay back and take it easy the rest of the year. But he’s not,“ SSHS boys golf coach Nick Wirshing said. “He’s still working hard and still wants to take this season seriously and do as good as he can. He’s more focused than I would think most people would be expected to be in his same circumstance.”
Gilmore said he would like to study something involving clean energy while at school. But he also wants to see where his golf career goes.
“I want to play there for four years, and then see after that. I want to try to go pro, depending on how well I’m playing,” Gilmore said.
Gilmore has been the team’s top golfer since he joined the squad in 2009 as a freshman. He teamed up with 2009 graduates Ren Wilson and Robert Perea, who had led the team since they were freshmen, in order to claim a team state championship. Gilmore showed he was a special talent by finishing as the runner-up at state during his freshman year.
Gilmore was back at it his sophomore season, but it ended in disappointment. A year after tying for first and losing a playoff at state, Gilmore failed to qualify for state at all, missing out by one stroke.
That fueled the fire last season as he won his first individual regional crown. However, he came up short at state again.
Gilmore was in a tie for third after a first-round 72, but the conditions on the second day were unbearable at Hidden Valley Country Club. As one of the last golfers to take the course, he had to deal with the rain and strong wind gusts through his entire round. Gilmore fell to ninth overall after finishing with an 82.
That finish is another motivating factor for his senior year.
“He puts in countless hours in the offseason. He’s out here really every single day when we’re not in golf season, hitting balls, chipping and putting,“ Wirshing said. “A lot of it has to do with his work ethic out of season. He’s a member at RedHawk, so he can play whenever he wants. RedHawk has been great to him and really helped him with his development.
“I feel like he really works hard, but he’s a naturally gifted athlete. He could have played basketball if he wanted to, and he probably could have played baseball if he wasn’t playing golf. He’s a good athlete on top of having a really good work ethic. Put that together and he’s got a great swing. Mentally he can stay consistent on the golf course, which is awesome.”
Gilmore is a team-first kind of guy, a rarity in an individual sport like golf.
After Gilmore lost a playoff to finish second a state during his first varsity season, he said, “I feel good. Ray (Gollop) deserves it. As long as our team won, that’s what matters. It’s what we’ve wanted to do all season.”
Gilmore was disappointed the entire Cougars squad didn’t qualify for state last spring, so he wants to help make sure that doesn’t happen again.
“Last year was kind of ugly. It was really embarrassing,“ Gilmore said. “We had a really good team, but we all choked it up at regionals. This year, this team is not as good, but I think if we all work hard, we can make it.
“We’re struggling right now, but I try to help out everybody. If the guys ask me questions, I try to help them out.”
His attitude impresses his coach.
“Golf is such an individual sport. He wants to push his teammates,” Wirshing said. “He helps them with their swings all the time. It is a pretty cool thing. It shows what a good guy he is. He really wants to push his teammates to be better. He could easily just try to go win state by himself and not worry about it. He really embraces the team aspect of this, which is nice for such an individual sport.”
Gilmore, who started taking his hacks with a set of plastic clubs when he was 2 and began playing rounds at 5, has enjoyed his time with the Purple and White.
“High school golf has been great. It’s been more fun than stressful,” Gilmore said. “It’s just a relaxing sport. You come out here, chill out with your buddies and play golf.”