Jordan Wright came up a little short in his quest to win back-to-back state championships, but he impressed his coach just the same with his steady senior season from start to end.
“He played well all year,” said longtime Incline head coach Joe Humasti. “He won every tournament except one, he had lowest average in the Northern 2A and he won regionals last week. So he didn't let anyone down with how he played. He's a role model for young golfers in our community. I'm very proud of him.”
Wright, who claimed the Northern 2A regional title at Edgewood Tahoe last Thursday, carried that momentum into the 2A State Championship tournament on Monday at Rivers Edge in Needles (Calif.), where he led the 46-player field after Day 1 with an even-par 71 on the 6,189-yard course.
The senior left-hander then carded a 79 on the second and final day Tuesday in hot, windy conditions, which placed him in a tie for second with a two-day score of 150. He was awarded the tiebreaker for second place over Quayd Brooks of Lake Mead based on a scorecard playoff.
Ty Pickel of White Pine, meanwhile, fired a 74 both days to top the field with a winning score of 148.
“Jordan had a good first round. He was a little disappointed with his second round, with just the fact that he couldn't drop a putt,” Humasti said. “He had a number of birdie opportunities and he couldn't get them to drop. He accepted it. He was a little disappointed, but he gave it his best effort, and that's all that we can ask of him.”
Whittell won the state championship as a team for the fifth time in the past six years. The Warriors led by 12 strokes after the first day and posted a final, two-day score of 833 to runner-up Needles' 842. White Pine was third, at 847, followed by The Meadows (850), Incline (876) and North Tahoe (911).
“Whittell is very, very strong. All six of their players are strong,” Humasti said. “We had a good first round. I was very pleased with the play of our boys. And then we just didn't have the team depth to keep up with the top three teams. But the kids gave it their best. I was proud of their effort.”
Among Incline's six-man team, Dylan Smith shot a personal-best 82 on Day 1 and followed that up with a 90 on Day 2 to finish 25th with a combined score of 172. John Larson, who also shot an 82 on the first day, shot a 92 on the second day to finish 27th at 174. Sam Canino carded an 86 and a 94 (180) for 32nd place, while Arjun Singh shot a 97 and 103 (200) and Ian Reeves a 99 and 104 (203).
“We played very well the first day. The second round they didn't do quite as well, and some of the scores were higher because it was windy,” Humasti said.
After the top three, Keith Flowers of Mountain View, who was one stroke behind Wright after Day 1, was fourth with a two-day score of 153 and Jake Williams of Whittell was fifth with a 155. They were followed by Darron Wilson of Needles (155), Nick Marich of White Pine (157), Victor Banos of Lake Mead (158), Chris Young of White Pine (161) and Thomas Isaccs of The Meadows (163) rounding out the top 10.
“Jordan defended his title the best he could,” Humasti said. “He was tenacious and strong. They just didn't drop, and that's kind of how the game goes. The player from White Pine had two good rounds, and in these tournaments that's all it takes. But Jordan fought till the end.”