Warriors trail The Meadows by one
They won’t wear camouflage colors Friday, but the Whittell High Warriors will be hunters for the final round of the 2A state golf tournament in Jackpot.
Defending state champion Whittell trails The Meadows by one stroke heading into the final 18 holes at Jackpot Golf Course.
“We have to fight for it if we want it,” said WHS senior Ryan Salomon. “We’ll see who wants it more (today).”
Salomon, the defending individual state champion, did his part to put Whittell in contention by firing the low round of the day — an even-par 72.
“He’s just come into this tournament really focused, loose and ready to play,” said WHS coach Steve Maltase. “His leadership is something we needed.”
After missing a 2-foot par putt on No. 2, Salomon settled down for a consistent round. However, inspiration for a birdie-birdie finish was delivered by an Incline player, who informed Salomon as he was walking up No. 17 that teammate Patrick Flanagan had finished with a 2-over 74.
“I couldn’t let Flanagan beat me, so I drained the 12-foot birdie putt and went up and knocked it within 5 feet on 18 and made that putt,” Salomon said.
Jackpot’s Dustin Corbridge used his local knowledge to position himself in second, one shot behind Salomon. Flanagan is alone in third with a 74 and will be grouped with Corbridge and Salomon for the final round.
“That’s just like Keith and I last year. It’s definitely going to be fun,” Salomon said.
Gerald Reeves of Hawthorne and Dustin Moschetti are tied for fourth at 75.
While Salomon and Flanagan kept the Warriors in contention, Maltase is hopeful that his other top players lower their scores Friday. Brian Jones shot a respectable 82, but Parker Fox and Cary White didn’t score as well as they normally do. Fox regrouped for an 86 after taking an 11 on the first hole. His ball became lost after his fourth shot found deep rough near the green. Fox was assessed a penalty and returned to retake his fourth stroke from the previous spot. Ironically, following the round, Maltase and Fox returned to the hole and found the lost ball almost immediately.
“Two guys and a monitor couldn’t find it and after we cruised back to the hole we found it in less than 10 seconds,” Maltase said.
Incline also is in the thick of the title race, firing a 415 total for third place. The Meadows is at 402 and Whittell at 403.
For anyone venturing by plane to Jackpot on Friday morning, the final round commences at 9 a.m.
“Last year, we were ahead by 20 shots after the first day and it wasn’t even exciting,” Salomon said. “We didn’t have to worry about it. Now, it’s going to show what our team is made of. We can’t let our guard down. We have to step it up and show what Whittell golf is all about.”
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