Rankl wins, Carson girls take second
Three was an important number for the Carson High girls golf team Tuesday afternoon at Empire Ranch Golf Course.
Three is the number of times senior Liz Rankl, who shot a 10-over-par 82, has emerged as medalist at the weekly Sierra League tournament, and three is the number of times Carson High’s team has garnered a second-place finish (season-low 478).
With its third straight runner-up finish to Reno (456), the Senators have all but assured themselves of finishing in the top four and qualifying for the regional next month. South Tahoe, thanks to a hole-in-one by Jenny Bigelow and an 89 by Mollie Novasel, was third with 507. North Valleys (535), Wooster (545) and Douglas (554) took the last three spots.
“It was a good score,” Carson coach Terry Gingell said. “The girls are playing real well. They are working hard. They are a lot of fun to work with, and it’s nice to see them make progress.
“I’m sure we’ll be there (in the playoffs). We’d have to have a major disaster not to be in the top four considering there are only six teams (and just two tournaments left).”
The Senators got season-low scores from three players – Grace Ray (93), Samantha Wang (100) and Michelle Kop (98). It was the first time that Kop has broken the century mark in tournament play.
Ray has been a solid No. 2 player for Carson, according to Gingell.
“I think she can continue to shoot in the (low) 90s,” Gingell said. “She has a very good mental approach to the game, and she has a very good short game. She chips and putts very well.”
Of course, the Senators wouldn’t be in their lofty status if not for the hot-shooting Rankl, who has clearly emerged as the Sierra League’s best player.
She shot a 3-over-par 39 on the White course, and followed with an uncharacteristic 7-over-par 43 on the Blue course.
“I started off real well, but the back nine didn’t go as well as planned,” Rankl said. Rankl had seven pars on the front side and five more on the back nine.
Rankl parred four of her first four holes, and made a nice par save on No. 2 when she drained a 15-footer. She gave a stroke back with a three-putt bogey on the par-5 sixth hole.
She double-bogeyed the par-4 325-yard seventh hole, the first of her two bad holes during the round. She triple-bogeyed the 313-yard 12th hole.
On No. 7, Rankl was inside 100 yards from the green, and sliced a pitching wedge into the hazard along the right side of the fairway. After taking a drop and a penalty stroke, she pitched her next shot on the green and two-putted.
“I decelerated my swing,” Rankl said. “I’d been doing that on the driving range.”
She made a great par-saving putt on the par-3 eighth hole, sinking a tough downhill 10-footer. She closed out the front with another one-putt par.
After starting with a par and bogey on her back nine, Rankl ran into trouble on the aforementioned 313-yard 12th. Rankl hit her driver into the hazard on the right side of the fairway. After taking a penalty stroke, she hit her third shot green-high. She hit her fourth shot over the green, chipped on and two-putted. She finished with four pars and two bogeys in her last six holes.
“On the back I got tentative (with my putter),” Rankl said. “I lost the feel. I think the key for me is hitting greens in regulation so I don’t have to chip. It’s an extra wasted shot (when I miss the green).”
Kristina Colyer, the only bright spot for Douglas this year, got off to a slow start with a 52 on the front side. She rebounded with a 5-over-par on the back nine and finished with a 93, her second-lowest score in the four tournaments.
Colyer started the back nine in impressive fashion with a tap-in birdie on the par-5 10th and two pars before bogeying the 13th and 14th holes. She parred15, bogeyed 16, parred 17 and finished with a double-bogey seven on the par-5 18th.
“The first two holes on the front were good and then I lost focus,” Colyer said. “I couldn’t recover. I got out of sync.
“The back nine it all came together (except for 18). I never finish well. My goal was to break 90. I could easily have done better.”
Bigelow made the first ace of her life, and Sierra League coaches believe it is the first in tournament history. It came on the 17th hole (eighth hole on the Blue course), a 98-yard par-3.
“I hit a pitching wedge,” Bigelow said. “It bounced once and then bounced into the hole.
“I started yelling, ‘I got a hole-in-one,’ I threw my club down on the ground. It was
fantastic. I’ve come close a couple of times on my home course.”
Contact Darrell Moody at email@example.com or 881-1281.