Led by senior Jordan Gilmore, the Cougars shot a season-low round of 396 for a total of 810, securing the second best team total for the tournament and clinching a berth to state. Bishop Manogue won the Northern 4A championship with rounds of 371 and 374 for a total of 745.
“We told them before ‘Hey, don’t be comfortable with this lead,’” Spanish Springs coach Nick Wirshing said. “Today, they just had laser focus. It was amazing to see it in their eyes. I’ve coached a bunch of sports for about 15 years and I am as proud of them these last two days as I have been any other sport that I’ve coached. I’m just super proud. I just couldn’t wish for anything better for a better group of guys. It was amazing.”
Going into the second day after shooting a par 72 on Day 1, four off the pace of the best individual, Gilmore shot a 68 to tie Bishop Manogue’s Drew McMillan for the regional’s best individual score.
The two went into a playoff on hole nine to break the tie and determine the individual leader. Gilmore took the honors with a par on one of the more difficult holes on the course.
“The playoff was nerve-racking,” Gilmore said. “I had a two hour wait so it was hard to get up on the first hole and hit a good shot. Luckily, I hit the fairway, put it on the green and made two putts. I’m more excited about the team making it though. We took second (in league) all year and pulled it off at regionals. That’s pretty awesome.”
Gilmore was not the only golfer for the Purple and Silver to improve in his second round. Each Cougar shot a lower score with their second go-round at the Dayton Valley links.
After shooting an 81 Monday, Tommy McAllister shot a 79 Tuesday. Cole Shirley had a 78 following an 83, while Matt Beebe and Owen Bartlett finished out the scoring for the Cougs with an 85 and 86 (90 and 88 previously). Although Matt Perera’s score was thrown out as the non-counting round, he also improved from day one, shooting an 89 after a 96 on the first day.
“I think every guy had their best round of the year today which is amazing for six guys to put together a round like that,” Wirshing said. “They were just focused from the get-go. Yesterday and today they didn’t let bad shots bother them and they just put a great score together.”
Now Spanish Springs will see what it can do on TPC Las Vegas, the host golf course for state.
“We’re going to go down there and just have fun and do as good as we can,” Wirshing said. “We’re going to compete against ourselves and see what kind of scores we can put up.”
The other Sparks-area 4A school also competed in the championships, but after a rough start to the first round and a score of 458, Reed was left playing for pride on Day 2.
Reed improved by 19 strokes, shooting a 439 and closing the championships with an 897, good for seventh overall.
While the Raiders were out of the running for a trip to state as a team, there was a shot for some to go as individuals with the top five qualifiers, not on team qualifiers, going to Las Vegas.
Sophomore Trevor Wood, the second best golfer in the High Desert League this season, struggled on Day 1 with an 88 but bounced back with a solid second round of 72 for a 160 total. Unfortunately for Wood, that was two shots too many as the fifth and final individual score qualifying for state was a 158.
Another Raider sophomore also had a chance to clinch a spot as an individual after an 87 on Monday, but Wyatt Koski’s second round 88 put him at 175 overall, 17 off the individual pace.
The Blue and Gold’s other scores on the day were similar to Monday. Junior Garrett Marchese shot a 94 after a 92 on Day 1, while seniors Dylan McKenzie and Dave Hibler shot 94 and 91 following rounds of 93 and 98, respectively. Tyler Carnahan’s 98 was thrown out, but it was the Raiders’ second largest improvement after he shot a 106 on Monday.
“We shot a 439 today and without a doubt that was the best result of our season,” Reed coach Nick Nemsgern said. “For them to bounce back and really perform today I’m really proud of that. They peaked at the right time. We started the season shooting 525 and 526 respectively as a team. And today we shot 439. As a coach I can’t even be more proud.”