Douglas duo outpaces field in league golf tourney
The best 1-2 golf punch in Northern Nevada has to be Douglas High’s Greg Coleman and Thomas Wicker.
Coleman, playing his first season of high school golf after being reinstated as an amateur last fall, fired a 4-under-par 68 to win medalist honors at the first Sierra League golf tournament of the season Tuesday afternoon at Empire Ranch.
Coleman won by two shots over teammate Thomas Wicker and Fallon’s Matt Vanderbeek. Kevin Andrews of Manogue was fourth at even-par 72 and Fallon’s Pete Paul carded a 74 to round out the top five.
Bishop Manogue’s team, with five players in the 70s, finished at 378, nine shots better than Douglas. Fallon was third at 392 and Carson, led by Garrett Gingell’s 76, was fourth at 406. Galena was fifth at 408.
Coleman, who is home schooled, turned pro at the tender age of 16. He spent much of that year playing in Nationwide Tour Monday qualifiers as well as spending some time on the Golden State Tour. For economic reasons, he went before the United States Golf Association to regain his amateur eligibility. He was granted that last fall, but was unable to play in tournaments for a year.
“It was a good experience,” Coleman said. “Playing with players of better caliber definitely helps you.”
Coleman birdied the opening hole en route to a 3-under-par 33 on the Blue course which served as the front nine. He picked up an eagle with a chip-in from 10 yards on the par-5 542-yard 15th (No. 6 on the White course). The only blemishes on his round were bogeys at Nos. 10 and 18.
“I stayed calm and focused shot by shot,” Coleman said.
Wicker appeared headed for medalist honors after climbing to 6-under par through 12 holes. The highlight came on No. 2 when he chipped in from 20 yards for eagle on No. 2, a 340-yard par-4.
Wicker gave some shots away on the back nine, bogeying Nos. 13 and 18, and double-bogeying No. 16.
“I’m extremely disappointed,” Wicker said, after taking a sip on a post-round soda. “I didn’t hit a bad shot off the tee. Maybe there was one that was a little off. I didn’t take advantage of a pretty easy course.”
As expected, Gingell led Carson’s team in the opening tourney, though Roman Smokey’s 80, a 79 by Colin McCulloch and an 83 by Niko Brewer were pivotal. Mitch Parra shot an 88 and Nathaniel Brown shot a non-scoring 105.
Gingell started fast, recording birdies on Nos. 1 and 2. He saved par on No. 11 with a downhill 25-foot putt. He did give two strokes back on the 194-yard par-3 17th when his tee shot sailed into the water.
“I hit the ball better on the front nine,” Gingell said. “That (76) is a career-best for me in high school play. I know the course real well and that definitely helped.
“I’ve got to work on putting. I’m lacking consistency on the long lag-type putts.”
Gingell hit 12 of 18 greens in regulation, a more than respectable number. Four of those missed greens came on the back nine where he admitted having problems off the tee.
Brewer came within two shots of matching his career-best of 81, which he shot last year at Fallon. Take away three consecutive double-bogeys at Nos. 7, 8 and 9, and Brewer would have had a superb round. He shot 44 on the front and 39 on the back. He birdied Nos. 1 and 15. At the 494-yard par-5 first hole, he missed an eagle putt by inches and settled for a tap-in birdie.
“It was a lack of focus,” Brewer said. “I got ahead of myself. I had a real strong comeback. I thought I was going to have a bad day (after the three doubles), I just buckled down and stayed with it.”
The next league tournament is scheduled for Monday at Thunder Canyon at noon.