Douglas, Carson one-two in golf
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – The initial Sierra League girls golf tournament gave Carson coach Terry Gingell a glimpse of what to expect this season.
Reno High, a perennial powerhouse for the past few years, appears to be down talent-wise as a team, the Douglas Tigers have improved immensely and his own Carson Senators remain a model of consistency.
Douglas, led by medalist Bethany Wurster (80), Katie Gettman (81) and Heather Henderson (85) won the event with a 470, six strokes better than arch-rival Carson, which got a career-best 86 from Michelle Kop.
Lydia Peri shot 89, Chelsea Keating and Katie Cowperthwaite finished at 95 and Julia Lapham shot 111.
“I’m happy with second place,” Gingell said. “We did well, and the girls will keep improving. Douglas has a strong team. They had the top three individuals.
“The score was very good. I’m pleased. That was the best round Michelle has had in a tournament. Lydia scored well despite not putting very well.”
Kop, who missed state by one shot last year, had eight pars and a birdie. She had two bad holes on the front side, which cost her a chance to shoot in the low 80s. She played the back nine in 2-over-par 38.
“I was real nervous at the beginning,” Kop said. “That’s the best nine I’ve shot. It was a good score to start the year off with.
“I was having trouble with my swing, and went back to my old swing at No. 9 and that worked out well.”
Kop, who started on No. 6 in the shotgun format, said she was ready to quit after registering a quadruple bogey on the 276-yard hole, which included an out-of-bounds off the tee and a chunked shot from the fairway.
“An 8 on the first hole is so stupid,” she said. “I was walking all around. One girl said it was on the left and the other said it was on the right.”
Kop bounced back nicely with back-to-back pars at Nos. 7 and 8, but registered another quadruple bogey 8 at the par-4 ninth thanks to a bad approach shot which went over the green and put her near a hazard.
She was 3-over-par through the first four holes on the back side before recording her first birdie of the day at the 112-yard 14th when she hit a pitching wedge about 4 feet from the hole and drained the putt. She parred the next four holes.
A penalty stroke on No. 1 led to a double-bogey, but got one of the strokes back with a birdie at No. 2. She finished her round with three straight bogeys.
Peri, a state tournament participant last year, admitted that putting did her in. She needed 43 putts to get around the course, which included six three-putts and one four-putt from 10 feet.
“The score was OK, considering how badly I was putting,” Peri said. “I was OK off the tee. The putting was really a factor. I was misreading them. I had some putts that missed by a millimeter on the outside. This was a good score to start with, though. I know I can shoot lower. I shot lower over the summer.”
Peri’s lone birdie came at No. 2 when she hit driver into the rough, hit a hybrid club to within 100 yards of the green and then lofted a pitching wedge to about 3 feet from the pin.
Errant shots on Nos. 3 and 4 led to double-bogeys and quickly put her 4-over-par. A bogey at No. 5, a par-3, a double at No. 6 and a bogey on No. 7, the second par-3 on the front, put her at 8-over.
Peri bounced back with pars at Nos. 8 and 9 to finish the front side in 44. She opened the back side with three straight bogeys, but stemmed the negative tide with two straight pars.
Three straight pars set the table for the aforementioned four putt on No. 18, a 387-yard par-4.
Keating registered five pars, but those couldn’t make up for two 8s and a 9.
“I don’t think I did that well,” Keating said. “My driving wasn’t consistent. I struggled with distance and accuracy. I did putt real well, though.”
The most pleasant surprise was the play of Cowperthwaite, who shaved 18 strokes off her score of 113 at last year’s zone tournament.
“She practiced hard over the summer and played in some tournaments,” Gingell said.
Wurster, a freshman, had a birdie and 11 pars during her round. She nearly aced the 112-yard par-3 14th, her tee shot landed less than an inch from the hole. She 3-putted the last hole otherwise she would have broken 80.
Wurster said playing a practice round last Sunday at Wolf Run helped immensely. She said that she didn’t keep score, but lost a few balls, as she learned a little about the layout.
“I knew where to hit it (after Sunday),” Wurster said. “I thought I did well.”