Fannan keeps Vikings string of firsts going
It was tough enough that Sean Fannan of South Tahoe had to mix it up with Northern Nevada 4A’s best high school golfers Tuesday at Ruby View Golf Course in Elko. But Fannan’s quest to qualify for next week’s state tournament became even more difficult with unexpected 5-inch rough gobbling up astray shots and unforgiving afternoon winds challenging the shotmakers.
The Vikings sophomore, however, was up to the task, becoming the first STHS golfer to qualify for state in the team’s six-year existence.
“It feels pretty good. It was my goal at the beginning of the year,” said Fannan, who shot a 7-over-par 78 and tied Travis Whisman of Galena for sixth place.
Fannan rolled in birdies of two and 15 feet to keep his solid round going.
“I played better on the front nine. I didn’t shoot as well on the back, but I kept it together,” Fannan said.
A wet start to the week prevented Ruby View course preparers from making their customary mows. Consequently, a U.S. Open-type rough greeted the players Tuesday morning.
“One of the coaches was talking to Whisman’s dad (Jim), and he said the rough was almost as tough as when (Jim) played the U.S. Senior Open at Riviera,” said STHS coach Patterson.
A week after clinching their first zone berth in a tiebreaker, South Tahoe didn’t have any additional surprises up their sleeves.
“It was a great experience and hopefully something we can build on in the future,” Patterson said. “Our first three scores were solid, and we have some good young players.”
Eighth-seeded STHS finished eighth with a five-player score of 435. Reno emerged from a tiebreaker with Elko to win the zone championship with its score of 408. The title was decided by the sixth man’s score, which was 91 for Elko and 87 for Reno.
Galena came out of the tightly bunched field in third place at 409, followed by Reed and Carson at 411. Reed earned the final state team berth after one of Carson’s players was disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard. The DQ left the Senators without a score for their sixth player – the Northern Nevada League’s sole method of breaking ties.
The disqualification impacted more than the team state qualifiers. STHS senior James Peterson shot 82 and would have advanced to state if Carson’s player had correctly signed his scorecard.
Excluding the players from teams that qualified for state, the next five low scorers also advance. If Reed had finished fifth, only one of its players had a better scorer than Peterson’s, and all the players shooting 82 would have played next week at state. As a nonqualifier Carson, however, had three players who bested Peterson, and two other scores came in lower than the Vikings senior.
“Carson wasn’t happy, and we weren’t too happy that James didn’t qualify,” Patterson said. “Unfortunately, those are the breaks, and the kid should have been disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard.
“James is an outstanding student and a really good leader for our younger guys, so it really would have been neat if he could have made it.”
Lowry finished sixth with a 417 total, McQueen seventh at 422 and STHS eighth at 435.
STHS’s Pat Curtis also toyed with qualifying for state, shooting an 84 that put him in a tie for 25th place.
“With all the pressure, 84 is a real good round,” Patterson said. “Any time you finish in the top 25, when only the best players are left, that’s a real good round.”
STHS’s scoring also included a 95 by Hunter Harris and a 96 by Patrick Kelly. Mikey Scheller withdrew after nine holes because of an illness.
Regular-season champion Bryson Young of Galena fired the lowest round – a 2-over-par 73. He was three shots better than John Chirila of Carson. Reed’s Dustin Hall, Reno’s Chris English and Elko’s Jason Wahlstrom tied for third at 77.
The 36-hole state tournament starts at noon Wednesday, May 17 at Dragon Ridge Country Club in Henderson.
As for Fannan’s chances of pulling off another Viking first next week, Patterson isn’t ruling it out – especially if he ties Whisman for the third straight week.
“It could happen. Sean has been playing great the last couple of weeks,” Patterson said.
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