Zane Thomas noticed the wind beginning to gust on the sixth hole Monday, but the Arbor View sophomore didn’t let it rattle him.
Because of that, he finds himself in position to repeat as Sunset Region boys golf champion.
Thomas shot 1-over-par 73 to top the leaderboard after the first round of the Sunset tournament at Siena Golf Club. He’ll carry a four-shot lead into the second and final round Wednesday at Mountain Falls Golf Club in Pahrump.
“When (the wind) started kicking up around the sixth hole or so, all of a sudden going into the wind, the balls just stopped and were dead,” Thomas said. “I just tried to play par golf, down the fairway, in the middle of the green, and tried to hold it together.”
Thomas did just that, shooting 37 on the back nine. Four of his five birdies came on the front.
“It brings me a lot of confidence going into the final round,” he said. “I might not have to stress to go to state. It definitely takes a lot of the pressure off me going into (Wednesday).”
The top two teams and five individuals from non-qualifying teams clinch spots in the Class 4A state tournament, which begins Monday at TPC Las Vegas.
The team lead belongs to Centennial with a score of 420. Palo Verde (431), Pahrump Valley (438) and Desert Oasis (443) also qualified for the final round.
Centennial was buoyed by senior Greg Kerber, who was second individually with a 77.
“Greg’s been consistent for us all year,” Bulldogs coach Greg Bohls said. “For him to come out and shoot 77 in these conditions, he’s one of our leaders, and it showed today.”
Bohls was pleased with the Bulldogs’ opening round, but he wants to see them play with a clean slate Wednesday.
“I think we just need to go into it with the attitude that it’s all even,” he said. “We’re all still pretty close, so you can make up 10 or 12 strokes in a hurry, especially if the conditions aren’t right.”
Desert Oasis freshman Niko Gonnella and Faith Lutheran senior Yuki Kato are tied for third at 80, and four players are knotted at 82.
At Siena (par 72)
Shane Lindemann, Pah, 83; Justin Palmquist, Cen, 83; Dorian Patel, Pah, 83; Ben Schlitching, Gor, 83; Brad Rowland, Cen, 84; Daniel Shimakawa, Pah, 85; Joey Tuzzolino, Spr, 86; Trevor Ensign, FL, 87; Josh LoManto, Pal, 87; Alec Sailer, Cen, 87