WPHS golf team battles with challenging course

By Adam Young 

The Nevada 2A Southern Division boys golf tournament was held at Reflection Bay Golf Club in Henderson on Tuesday, May 9.

White Pine High golfers participated in this event in bluster and very cool conditions and clawed their way to a third place finish.

Reflection Bay is a challenging set up with large, undulating greens and a number of holes with water on one side or the other of the fairway. The greens are fast and have a good deal of slope.

The team struggled as a whole due to the challenging course, the fact that several players had not ever seen the course before, and the wind. But seniors Seth Robertson, Justin Kirchner and Dalton Westlund were steady.  Junior Gage Hunt’s score as the sixth man was counted because junior Ole Hensellik’s score was thrown out due to a rules infraction.

Junior Collin Young won the division tournament individually as the low medalist. Young was even par through 14 holes despite the excessive wind.  “I hit a few really great wedge shots that allowed me to birdie three holes on the back nine,” he said.

Young faced some trouble on the par 5 15th hole but rallied by birdieing the 16th. He conquered the challenging 17th and 18th holes and prevailed over playing competitors from the Meadows and Lake Mead.

As the third place team in the division, the team qualified for state collectively. State was held at the Eagle Valley West course in Carson City. This course features climbs through the mountains, fairways bordered by sagebrush, and greens with excessive back to slope front. And, of course, the wind.

The team finished in fourth place over the two-day tournament thanks to the steady play of Robertson, who improved his score by 14 strokes from day one to two. Hensellik also played well despite never practicing on the course. Seniors Westlund and Kirchner played their last rounds as Bobcats and were fortunate enough to do so at the state tournament.  Juniors Hunt and Young will return next year.

Young placed sixth individually, after not playing as well as he wanted on the first day. But he rallied and showed his grit and experience on the second day by shooting the low nine hole score of the tournament, a blistering 32 (four under par) on the front nine.

Coach and PGA professional Randy Long works with these young men all season and all year long. He drives them to every tournament, works with other courses to arrange practice rounds, takes them to nice dinners as a team, provides range balls and practice facilities at the White Pine Golf Course, provides them with instruction and feedback on their technique, and encourages them with gentleness and humor.

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