Spanish Springs has been considered the team to beat in Northern 4A golf all season and the Cougars did nothing to hurt their status as the favorites to win the zone title at the Carson Invitational.
But Carson High can also be encouraged by its performance over the last two days. Nevada Union (Calif.) and Spanish Springs continued their duel for the title at Silver Oak Golf Club on Thursday, with the Cougars edging Nevada Union by one stroke.
After shooting a 396 at Eagle Valley West on Wednesday, Spanish Springs came back to fire a 382 at Silver Oak to finish with a 778. Nevada Union finished with a 779 (395 at Eagle Valley, 384 at Silver Oak).
Behind the top two clubs were Carson's two teams as Carson's "A" team came back to overtake Carson's "B" team for third. Carson's "A" team finished with an 810 (417 at Eagle Valley, 393 at Silver Oak) while Carson's B team shot 812 (412 at Eagle Valley, 400 at Silver Oak).
Kevin Rei of Sonora (Calif.) was the individual champion with a 147 (75-72). The Cougars' top two golfers tied for second as Ren Wilson and Robert Perea both finished at 149. Wilson was the low medalist on Thursday at Silver Oak, shooting a 2-under-par 69.
Carson's Zack Rispin finished fourth at 150 after shooting a 73 on Thursday. Galena led by Andrew Mims (80-75-155) took fifth at 825.
The Senators can be encouraged by their effort because their two teams were pretty much split evenly as all of their top golfers weren't placed on one team. Carson was also playing without one of its top golfers in Kevin Goles.
"It wasn't too bad," said Carson coach Rod Butler about how the splitting of his two teams worked out. "We mixed up our players. It worked out well for us.
"For me it helps me decide who I think is ready to play tournament golf, who is ready to play two days in a row."
Spanish Springs hasn't shot a round above 400 all year. "Spanish Springs is definitely the team," Butler said. "They're solid.
"We know they're going to shoot under 400. We know if we're going to compete for the title we have to shoot under 400."
Butler said on paper it looks like the second and final qualifying spot for the NIAA 4A State Championships could come down to four teams.
"I think we've got a great chance against the other teams," said Butler about qualifying for state.
"We're trying to get a good mindset going into zone, get some momentum going into it," Rispin said.
Along with Rispin also for Carson's "A" team, Isaac Holt finished at 164 (80-84), Zach Bergstrom finished with a 166 (87-79), Levi Taylor finished with a 162 (85-77), Stephen Hein finished with a 168 (88-80) and Kory Martinson finished with a 184 (98-86).
For Carson's B team, Ryan Livermore rebounded from an 86 at Eagle Valley to shoot a 73 at Silver Oak. Carson has also received a boost from the sooner-than-expected return of Jonathan Singer, who is golfing after going through major abdominal surgery. Singer finished at 159 (80-79).
Rounding out Carson B's scores were Sam Staub (83-79-162), Jordan Rogers (79-81) and Spencer Brinson (84-88-172).
"Zack played well," Butler said. "Ryan came back and played well. Jonathan played great."
While Silver Oak's greens made putting challenging for the most part, Rispin's long game helped him manage the greens as he three-putted only once.
"It wasn't too bad for me," said Rispin about the greens. "I left myself pretty easy putts. I made a few longer par putts towards the end.
"I'm definitely satisfied," Rispin said. "A lot better than yesterday. Definitely my driving was the most solid. I was just driving the ball perfect."
Rogers had a chance to score under 80 before a double bogey on his final hole. "I should have done better," he said.
He admitted he had a difficult time putting, otherwise Rogers said, "I was feeling pretty good throughout the round. It seemed the greens were a little bit slower than they usually are and it was hard to get some reads."
Rogers opened with a birdie on the par-3 second hole, sinking a 15-foot putt. But he also had four straight bogeys on the back nine.
"I usually play better here (Silver Oak) than I shoot there (Eagle Valley)," Rogers said. "I was hoping to score a little better than I did."
Notes: Rispin has played well recently at Silver Oak as he also fired a hole-in-one at the course. He used a Gap Wedge to shoot his ace from the black tee on the 157-yard second hole. Taylor witnessed the shot.