It took him a little awhile, but Austen Ancell finally got going.
The Pahrump Valley senior shot 3-under over the final five holes Monday to finish with a 6-over-par 77, good for second place after the first day of the Class 3A state golf tournament at Spring Creek Golf Course.
The tournament concludes Tuesday.
“It felt like something finally clicked, as opposed to the front nine where nothing was going the way I wanted it to,” Ancell said. “I definitely hope to play better, but at the same time do what I can with the conditions I’m given.”
Ancell hit consecutive birdies on the 14th, 15th and 16th holes before hitting par on the final two. He shot 1-under on the back nine.
His back nine made up for a front nine he’d rather forget. He drove the tee shot past the green and nearly out-of-bounds on the first hole of the day, and finished it with a triple bogey. He had two bogeys and one double bogey on the front nine, and did not shoot better than par on any hole.
It looked like it was going to last all day, after he had back-to-back bogeys on the 12th and 13th holes to go 9-over before turning things around.
“The front nine could have been a lot better,” Ancell said. “I’m just going to take my losses and try to do better tomorrow.”
Overall, Ancell’s team did not play all that well. The Trojans shot 452 as a team, which placed them fifth out of six schools. Boulder City is a fourth at 446 to lead Southern Nevada schools.
Spring Creek Creek leads with 398, with Lowry (432) and Churchill County (441) rounding out the top three. Moapa Valley is sixth with 620.
Spring Creek’s Daniel Mahlke leads the field at 75. And if Ancell plays Tuesday like he did on the back nine Monday, he could bring a state title back home.
“He got himself back into contention,” Pahrump Valley coach Bob Hopkins said. “He’ll be ready.”
The Meadows’ Kevin Inthachack leads Class 2A tournament
At Carson City, Kevin Inthachack shot par 72 to tie for the individual lead and help The Meadows into second place as a team after the first day of the Class 2A state tournament at Eagle Valley’s West Golf Course.
Incline’s Satchel Hirch and Yerington’s Griffin Cooper each shot par to end the day with a three-way tie for first.
The Meadows shot 438 as a team, five strokes behind leading Lake Mead. North Tahoe is third with 460, followed by White Pine (475), Incline (499) and Whittell (543).