There's nothing like starting a round of golf on the right foot, as Carson High School's Liz Rankl came to realize on Wednesday.
Rankl parred her first hole and went on to shoot a career-best 88 to lead the Senators during their Northern 4A conference match at Silver Oak Golf Course.
Sophomore Luxchmi Gill shot 7-over 79 to earn individual medalist honors and Galena remained unbeaten in conference with a 487 team total on a cool and breezy day. Reed was second at 503, followed by South Tahoe at 508. Douglas finished sixth at 513 and the host Senators were 10th at 543 in the fifth of six matches on the Northern 4A schedule.
Rankl, a sophomore, finished fourth individually with her 88 on the 5,183-yard Silver Oak layout.
"The conditions weren't easy today, so that was a great score," Carson coach Paul Croghan said. "Hopefully this is going to be a sign of things to come."
Interestingly enough, this was only Rankl's third time playing the course. With the shotgun start, she opened on the back nine and shot 44 then came back with another 44 over the front nine.
"It was a good accomplishment and I had fun," she said. "I was really happy about that (score) because the conditions were a little tough."
Rankl moved up to play in the No. 1 slot Wednesday because Ciarra Christian sat out due to illness. She ranked 23rd in the Northern Nevada Cup points coming into the match, yet her performance didn't surprise coach Paul Croghan.
"She's been in the 90s once, most of the time it's been around 100, but she hits the ball too good to not be shooting some better scores," Croghan said. "A lot of it is mental, like everybody else. She seemed to be focused today, so maybe it will encourage her to stay focused when she's out here on the golf course."
Rankl got off on the right foot on the par-5, 432-yard ninth hole, including a solid third shot over water on three sides of the green.
"I laid up and chipped on," Rankl said. "It was nice to get a good start. That kind of set the tone for the rest of the day."
Rankl had her short game working as she carded pars on five holes.
"She hits the ball long enough that she can reach most holes in regulation, if she doesn't miss a shot," Croghan said. "But she's been wasting a lot of strokes around the green, but today was putting a little better and getting up and down when she had to."
Lindsay Farnworth shot 100, Amanda Carvin 112, Kelsey Green 117, Megan Good 126 and Erica McAfee 128 for the Senators.
Green was another bright spot for the Senators with a 117 -- fourth best on the team -- in her first match of the conference season.
"She's always played soccer before, but this year she's playing golf," Croghan said of the junior. "She's improved a lot, especially the last couple of weeks. She challenged (for the varsity lineup) once before and missed by a couple of shots, but she wasn't discouraged. We had another challenge on Monday and this time she earned her spot."
The Douglas Tigers were led by junior Ashley Hartley, who shot a season best 84 to crack the top four on the leader board. Her previous best score of the season had been a 97.
The course -- not to mention conditions -- made Silver Oak a good challenge.
"It's not playing that long, but the greens are slick, they've got some undulation and then you've got the wind," Croghan said. "We saw one ball on a par 3 and the girl was behind the green, in pretty good shape, she chipped up to the flag about 10 feet short and she went to get her putter back in the bag, and the ball was rolling back at her and it rolled back off the green. A little gust of wind hit it, I guess, so they're quite fast when that happens."
The regular season concludes with a match next Wednesday at Rosewood Lakes in Reno. The Northern 4A Regional Tournament will be played on Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 15-16, at Sierra Sage. The 4A state tournament will be held the following week at Thunder Canyon.