On a day when Faith Lutheran’s top golfer nearly lost his seven-stroke, first-round lead, four of his teammates were there to pick him up on a shorter course Wednesday.
Four Crusaders improved on their first-round scores — and five shot in the 70s — as Faith Lutheran finished with a team score of 769 and ran away with the Division I-A Southern Region title by 77 strokes over Pahrump Valley at Siena Golf Club.
It was the Crusaders’ fourth consecutive region title. Boulder City was third at 901.
“I’m really happy because we had much better clarity of what we wanted to do off the tee today,” Faith Lutheran coach Mark Cheney said. “Less indecision and just more certainty of, ‘How do I want to hit this shot? How do I want to play this hole?’ It showed and that was really good to see.”
Despite carding a 7-over-par 79 Wednesday, Faith Lutheran’s Charlie Magruder won his first region tournament, finishign the two-day tourrnament at 1-over 145. Pahrump Valley’s Austen Ancell, who was the only golfer to break par Wednesday after carding a 71, finished one stroke behind.
Boulder City’s Kyler Atkinson was third at 4-over 149. Faith Lutheran’s Greg Price (151) and Sierra Vista’s George Kim (153) rounded out the top five.
“Even though I didn’t play well today, it was really nice to see (the team perform),” Magruder said. “The team really knows how to put together some good rounds. I think it really builds us as a team.”
Ancell had five birdies on the day to make things interesting late. The junior pulled within two strokes of the lead after Magruder had a double bogey on hole No. 16 and a bogey on No. 17.
Magruder played conservatively on the last par-4 hole to secure the win.
“Austen played amazing today,” said Magruder, who finished with six bogeys and two double bogeys. “Especially on this course. It’s a lot tighter and there’s a lot more bunkers. All the credit to him. … Whenever you’re a couple under, you just want to get more and more under. You’re feeling great. Today, for me, it was just like, ‘Please put it in the fairway. Try and get it on the green.’ It was more defense. Yesterday was offense, by far.”
Faith Lutheran’s Price (74), Jared Ramsay (79), Mitch Conley (75) and Trenton May (76) each improved on their first-day scores by at least two strokes.
“I’m pretty happy with how my round turned out today,” Price said. “Seventy-four is a pretty good round for me. I think I played a lot better than I scored. But I’m still pretty happy with fourth. … The second day I’m usually always a little bit more focused and chill.”
Conley was the team’s biggest mover, improving by eight strokes.
“This is how we’ve played all year,” Cheney said. “All of our guys are capable of contributing a low score. Charlie wasn’t at his best today, but the other guys were. And vice versa yesterday.”
The Division I-A state tournament begins at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday at Mountain Falls Golf Club in Pahrump.
Faith Lutheran will be looking for its third consecutive title.
Contact reporter Ashton Ferguson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0430. Follow him on Twitter: @af_ferguson