SUNRISE REGION: McInerney, Cougars roll to title

Coronado freshman golfer A.J. McInerney asserts he is never daunted going up against older competitors.

In fact, Cougars coach Joe Sawaia said McInerney is good enough to have played for his team since he was in the sixth grade.

One day after shooting a 3-under-par 69 at Dragon Ridge Country Club, McInerney carded a 1-under 71 at Mountain Falls Golf Club in Pahrump on Thursday.

McInerney’s 140 total at the two-day, 36-hole event gave him the Class 4A Sunrise Region tournament championship and led the Cougars to their second straight team title with a record-setting 742.

“It feels great, but it’s nothing more than I expected," McInerney said. “I expected to win, but I’m obviously very happy with how I played.”

Coronado’s 22-over eclipses the previous lowest winning score in a 36-hole state or region tournament, which was set by Green Valley with a 30-over 750 at the 1998 4A state tourney at Stallion Mountain Country Club.

“I’m just real proud of the way the kids played,” Sawaia said. “They were up to the challenge today. They weren’t lackadaisical with the lead.”

McInerney was followed by teammates Tad Darland (144), Kenden Slattery (150), Kevin Stratton (152) and Jimmy Burris (156).

Green Valley (811) was the other Sunrise team to clinch a spot in the 4A state tournament, which begins Wednesday at Red Hawk Lakes Course in Sparks.

Ryan Green led the Gators with a 150, followed by Amaan Hussain (163), Michael Sadler (163), Zach Morris (166) and Trevor Graziano (169).

Individuals from nonqualifying teams to reach state were Las Vegas’ Ray Gillip (143), Silverado’s Josh Fisher (158), Las Vegas’ D.J. Padron (162), Chaparral’s Rick Carrillo (170) and Foothill’s Bailey Rogers (173).

Sawaia said a key to the Cougars’ success has been not worrying what other teams are doing.

“I don’t think they get caught up in what other people are doing,” he said. “If we go out and shoot 370 and get beat, that’s just someone else playing better than you.”

Now the Cougars will try for their first state title. They were third at state last season.

“Obviously now we can start looking to state,” McInerney said. “All of us are looking forward to it and we can have a lot of fun.”

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