Rankl wins, CHS takes second
Liz Rankl knows Silver Oak Golf Club very well. She worked there two summers ago, and has played the course quite a few times.
The knowledge paid off Wednesday when Rankl shot an 80 to win medalist honors at the second Sierra League tournament.
Rankl’s score helped Carson carve out a second-place finish. The Senators finished with a 496, 31 strokes behind perennial powerhouse Reno. South Tahoe was third with 530.
Rankl beat her nearest competitor, Reno’s Alyson Felesina, by a whopping 10 shots. Reno’s Devon Thomas was third with a 91. Only 11 players in the 36-player field broke 100 over the short 4,725-yard layout.
“I know the course,” said Rankl, who shot a 2-over-par 74 in a recent practice round. “I like the back nine. I think it plays a little short.”
Rankl’s goal was to break 80, and she missed that by a single shot, despite the fact she finished with back-to-back birdies. It was a far cry from the 97 she shot at last week’s tournament.
“I think I just played better,” said Rankl, who spent most of her summer taking lessons at Thunder Canyon Golf Club. “I expected to do better here. It was a pretty good round overall.
“I think I’ve improved. I’ve added length to all my shots and I’ve improved my putting a little bit.”
Rankl did struggle a bit on the front side, however, shooting an 8-over-par 43. Most of the problems can be traced to two holes – No. 5, a 264-yard par-4, and No. 9, a 431-yard par-5.
On the fifth, an uphill par-4, Rankl was in good shape after her tee shot, leaving herself about 130 yards to the elevated green.
“I was thinking to myself don’t go right; aim left,” Rankl said. “I hit it to the right of the green in the dirt. I was lucky it stayed inbounds.”
Rankl misfired on the first chip, failing to get over the hill. Her second chip also came back, rolling out of bounds. She eventually took a quadruple-bogey 8 on the hole.
She hit her tee shot out of bounds on No. 9, which ultimately led to a double-bogey.
Rankl bogeyed No. 10, but got the shot back with a birdie on the par-5 317-yard 13th hole. Rankl drove a 7-wood down the middle, cleared the water hazard with an 8-iron, chipped to within 5 feet and sank a birdie putt.
She gave away a possible birdie on the par-3 14th, three-putting from 15 feet, and then parred 15 and bogeyed 16 which put her at 10-over.
On the 289-yard par-4 17th, Rankl drove the ball in the right rough, but hit a beautiful wedge shot to within feet and drained the putt. On the 385-yard par-5 18th, she drove the ball about 260 yards down the left side of the fairway and knocked her approach shot 20 feet past the flag. She two-putted for another birdie.
Rankl wasn’t the only Senator to improve from last week’s first tournament.
The other four scorers – Samantha Wang, Grace Ray, Lydia Peri and Michelle Kop – lowered their scores.
Ray lowered her score two strokes to a 108, Peri went from a 123 to a 104, Kop went from a 115 to a 102 and Wang went from a 113 to a 102.
“They all played better,” Carson coach Terry Gingell said. “They’re all progressing well. They work hard and want to do well.
“That (496 score) is excellent. Any time you shoot under 500 that’s good.”