Warrior linksters bolt to first-day lead at state
GENOA – With eyes set on their first-ever 2A state title the Whittell High Warrior golf team swung into action Thursday at Golf Club at the Genoa Lakes.
Led by Junior Ryan Salomon and senior Keith Truswell’s scores of 77, Whittell took the upper hand on day one of the two-day tournament, shooting a team score of 402.
“I think we have a great chance of going all the way,” said Salomon as he watched his teammates walk up the 18th fairway. “We just have to keep the scores down in the 70s again tomorrow.”
Playing in the familiar confines of Genoa Lakes, the Warriors came out firing early. Saloman shot a 3-over par 39 on the front 9, sinking some nice putts along the way. Patrick Flanagan showed he was up to the task as well when on No. 8 he chipped in a spectacular 20-footer for birdie.
“I was trying to sink that one when I struck it,” Flanagan said. “The guy before me hit a put so it showed me the line, and I just went off that.”
With strong winds picking up on the fairways, the Warriors took the turn with the same momentum as the gusting wind. Truswell birdied both No. 12 and No. 13 en route to a 5-over par 77. However, his score was in question when on No. 14 he was initially penalized for putting his bag in a hazard. Once a rule that penalized a player one stroke has since been eliminated. Thus, Truswell’s overall score remained at 77, rather than 78.
Salomon kept it going as well with a monster drive on No. 17, backed by a solid chip that rolled three feet from the pin, ensuring him a birdie.
The other Warrior ball strikers chipped in solid scores as well. Parker Fox shot an 83, Cary White fired an 86 and Brian Jones rounded out the team with an 89, leaving all six Warriors under 90.
“The guys did exactly what I hoped they’d do today,” Warrior coach Steve Maltase said. “We’ve tried to set a goal of breaking 90 lately. It’s a tough goal to set, but the guys have stepped up and responded.”
After the day-one scores were posted in the early evening hours Thursday, Whittell’s glance on a state championship got a bit wider.
The task will not be easy, though. Led by Remington Kaylor’s 79, defending state champion Needles is currently sitting in second place with a team score of 421. The Meadows also is in striking distance with a combined score of 424.
With today’s action moving to Edgewood, a course most Whittell players call their backyard, things are looking bright for the Warriors.
“We are very comfortable and familiar with (Edgewood),” Maltase said. “If we can come out and shoot like we did (yesterday), we’ll be fine.”
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