Mitchell Cornell owned a blustery Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course on Day 2 of the Division III state championship Wednesday.
In windy conditions, the Incline freshman fired a 75 — the lowest round of the day — as he stormed back from an eighth-place tie after Day 1 to finish second overall in the two-day state tournament. Cornell, who finished two strokes shy of an individual state title, shot an 82 at Genoa Lakes on Tuesday.
“Mitchell was outstanding,” said longtime Incline coach Joe Humasti. “The second day he just played terrific in horrendous conditions. It was very, very windy, with high gusts coming off the lake, and he showed excellent course management.”
The young Highlanders also finished second as a team, posting a final team score of 896 to state champion White Pine’s 855. Whittell came in third with a team score of 935 and was followed by The Meadows (942), Needles (945) and Battle Mountain (957).
“The course played extremely difficult for all the teams,” Humasti said, pointing out the generally higher scores across the board on the second day. “I’m extremely proud of our runner-up finish with such a young team. We just didn’t quite have the depth to catch White Pine. White Pine has a very solid team.”
White Pine placed three golfers in the top five among the 46-player field, including Nick Marich, who earned the individual state title with a two-day score of 155 (71-84).
Cornell nearly caught him, as his 75 pulled him to within two strokes, at 157. Ty Pickel of White Pine was third just one stroke back, at 158 (73-85), while Quayde Brooks, an individual qualifier from Lake Mead, was fourth with a 160 (71-89). Chris Young of White Pine was fifth with a 161 (83-78).
Sophomore Dylan Smith (87-87) and freshman Bryan Golombik (82-92) were the next-highest Incline finishers, as they each shot a 174 to tie for 14th. Senior Kyle Reeves carded a 195 (95-100) and senior Arjun Singh a 196 (95-101).
“I’m really proud of our other four players,” Humasti said. “We were in a position where if we tied for second, we didn’t have a sixth guy (to determine the tiebreaker), so there was a lot of pressure to finish second with the five guys, and they all came through.”
Cornell impressed his coach most during his most difficult moment.
On Day 1 at Genoa Lakes, he needed 10 shots to sink his par-4 third hole — the highest of his competitive career, Humasti said. But he played on as if it never happened, and went on to shoot even par on the back nine to salvage a respectable 82, which was tied with four others for eighth place.
“What impressed me and all the other coaches was that he showed no emotion. He said, ‘That’s part of golf,’ and he played through it. He had the same rhythm throughout his whole round. And that shows his level of maturity,” Humasti said. “He’s a very mature player for his age. Nothing fazes him.”
Senior Buster Fenley of North Tahoe finished 11th, shooting a 171 (80-91) over the two rounds.