CARSON CITY – The Division 2A Nevada State Girls Golf Championship was a war of attrition, the Lady Leopards of Wells weathering the first-round test with the fewest hiccups.
The grandest tournament of the season was played on two golf courses, the action at Toiyabe Golf Club providing major challenges, headaches and high scores.
Wells opened a 52-stroke lead after the first round with a team score of 550, placing all other competitors at a serious disadvantage entering round two, in which the Lady Leopards closed the door with a 528.
The second round provided a more player-friendly, lower-score atmosphere but no program was able to overcome the large deficit – the Lady Leopards claiming the state title with a total score of 1,078 – staking their name to the 2A championship on Eagle Valley-East Golf Course, in Carson City.
Wells’ final margin of victory stood at 36 strokes, Sierra Lutheran taking second place with a two-day total of 1,114.
White Pine ranked third with a two-day total of 1,155 (608, 547) – followed in fourth by Battle Mountain’s 1,162 – the Lady Longhorns (654, 508) nearly erasing a 46-stroke deficit to the Lady Bobcats after the first round, coming up seven-strokes shy of a third-place finish.
“The difference came down to the first round. Toiyabe is so difficult, a championship course. The greens are super-fast, its’ tall, the reads are tough and the fairways are really narrow,” said Wells coach Bob Woolsey. “The girls did a good job of managing their scores. A lot of teams had girls shooting 30-40 strokes above their averages, but our girls kept their scores five to six strokes higher than their averages. The big lead put us in a position to where everyone else had to play their best golf and we would have had to completely come apart not to win.”
On one hole at Toiyabe, Woolsey said it was not uncommon to see seven or eight-putts.
“The green was so steep that when the girls putted the ball, if they didn’t get it to the hole – it would roll all the way back to them at the bottom,” he said. “The neat thing to see was how resilient our girls were under those types of conditions.”
Woolsey said entering the tournament, Wells was not a favorite to win the event.
“It was nice to know that we could compete with some of the top schools if we played well, but we weren’t really expected to win,” he said. “The girls showed a lot of mental toughness. It’s hard for someone to see a 12 (strokes) on a hole, and how they would respond from that. The key was knowing that everyone was shooting high scores and to not let that snowball.”
Individually, Sage Ridge’s Leila Moassessi won the state championship with a two-day total of 184 – coming on rounds of 105 and a blazing-79 on day two – opening a 24-stroke advantage.
West Wendover’s Sydney Boatman claimed second place with a total score of 208, finishing with scores of 111 and 97.
In addition to Boatman’s performance, the Lady Wolverines took third place in the individual standings, Rebecca Wahlstrom closing her state tournament with a two-day card of 231.
She shot 123 in the first round and posted a 108 on day two.
Each of the top-three finishers came from non-qualifying teams, the first golfer from a team in the state tournament in the individual standings went to fourth-place Alyssa Holmberg, who played for Sierra Lutheran.
Holmberg finished the state tourney with a two-day total of 235, posting rounds of 128 and 107.
Incline’s Scarlet Ramos took fifth place with a score of 240 on rounds of 124 and 116, and Wells’ Grace French snagged the final 1st-Team All-State nod with a tourney total of 248 – carding rounds of 132 and 116 for sixth place.
Lexie Johnny served as the Lady Leopards’ No. 2 scorer, placing eighth with a total of 251.
She shot 123 in the opening round and 128 on day two, earning a 2nd-Team All-State selection.
Holly Pearson carded a 274 – finishing with scores of 138 and 136 – and Mackenzie Wachtel closed with a 305 on rounds of 167 and 138.
Kelleigh Campbell rounded out the Wells roster with a final score of 319, shooting 157 and 162.
Wells not only has a state championship to its credit, the Lady Leopards also have something to build on and work toward.
“Everyone on the roster is a sophomore. Lexie and Grace have played two years, but it was the first year for all the others,” Woolsey said. “I couldn’t ask for a better group of girls to work with. They are pretty excited and want to play a lot more golf outside the season. They kind of have a target on their backs now, so we will need to work really hard to get back there again and have the same kind of results.”
Entering the 2019 season, the Wells girls will have a chance to improve and grow with a still-young squad and make another run at a state crown.
Congratulations to Bob Woolsey and the Lady Leopards on their state championship and Grace French and Lexie Johnny on their all-state performances.
Also, job well-done to West Wendover’s Sydney Boatman and Rebecca Wahlstrom on their second and third-place finishes – serving as the only-two Lady Wolverines in the state tournament.