SPARKS — Nearly an hour remained before the other contending players would complete their rounds, but A.J. McInerney wasn’t worried.
The freshman from Coronado said he wasn’t concerned with whether his 3-under-par 69 would hold up for the first-round lead in the Class 4A boys state golf tournament Wednesday on the Lakes Course at the Resort at Red Hawk.
“If someone beats me, that’s a great round of golf,” McInerney said. “I played well, but obviously not being familiar with the golf course, to have a round like a 69 feels good.”
McInerney’s score was good for the lead by two strokes over Spanish Springs freshman Jordan Gilmore.
The wait wasn’t quite so pleasant for the rest of the Cougars. Spanish Springs will carry a four-stroke lead into today’s final round.
When Coronado’s sixth player, Ryan Rom, checked in with a 74 to give the Cougars a 377 total, Spanish Springs had a partial score of 220 with three players still on the course. Anthony Pair and Gatlin Harris came in with a 76 and 77 to put the host team in front with 373.
“We had a couple of guys struggle today and make some uncharacteristic mistakes,” Coronado coach Joe Sawaia said. “The 377 is higher than our average, but our average has been ridiculously good. If you’d given me 377 at the beginning of the year, I’d have taken that and never dreamt we’d be behind.”
McInerney, though, said the Cougars aren’t worried with where they place, or how they score.
“We’re just having so much fun this year as a team, so we’ll go out tomorrow and see what happens, and whatever it is, we’ve had a great time,” he said.
Las Vegas’ Raymond Gillip shot 72 and is tied for third, and Coronado’s Tad Darland, the defending state champion, is tied for fifth at 73.
“I made six birdies and shot 72, so I kind of struggled on a few holes, but that happens,” Gillip said.
Trailing by four strokes, Sawaia said his Cougars are still in good position if they can shake off Wednesday’s struggles.
“We’re OK,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll respond and be able to step up to the challenge.”