Coronado’s boys golf program has a proud history that includes individual state champions and team Sunrise Region titles.
But since the school opened in the fall of 2001, the Cougars hadn’t won a team state championship — until Tuesday.
Sophomore A.J. McInerney shot 5-under-par 66 to finish with a two-day, 36-hole total of 134 for the Class 4A individual state title at TPC Las Vegas, helping the Cougars pull away with the team crown.
“It’s unbelievable,” McInerney said. “We’ve worked hard all year, and to be rewarded like this is something really special.”
Coronado had four players finish in the top 20, including junior Tad Darland, who carded a 71 to finish third with a 146 total.
“This doesn’t even compare to winning it individually,” said Darland, the 2008 state champion. “As a team, you work together all year and you’re pretty much a family. To get it done is just unbelievable.”
Coronado began Tuesday with a two-stroke lead over Palo Verde but pulled away to top the Panthers, 751-764. Junior Christian Pate and freshman Julian Glasser also were key for the Cougars, tying for 19th with 157 totals.
“We’ve been real competitive (since) when we opened up nine years ago, and we’ve been to the state tournament nine years in a row,” Coronado coach Joe Sawaia said. “These guys were able to get it done, and it was special.”
Five of McInerney’s eight birdies came on the back nine, including the final four holes. He chipped in for birdie on the 18th hole to put the finishing touches on a record-setting tournament.
McInerney’s 8-under total of 134 set a postseason state record for the lowest winning score in relation to par in a 36-hole event. He eclipsed the 6-under mark set by Galena’s Travis Whisman at the 4A state tourney in 1999 and matched by North Tahoe’s Justin Linkey at the 3A state tourney in 2003.
McInerney said the team title will make Tuesday’s finish memorable.
“We practice together every day, and it’s just been a lot of fun this year,” he said. “I don’t think any tournament would compare to this.”
Arbor View sophomore Zane Thomas carded a 70 to finish second with a 145 total. Faith Lutheran senior Yuki Kato (78-69-147) took fourth, followed by Churchill County junior Matt Vanderbeek (71-78-149) and Silverado sophomore Josh Fisher (74-76-150).
Palo Verde was second at 764, followed by Centennial (790), Bishop Manogue (814), Reno (827) and Green Valley (846).