NIPTON, Calif. — Brandon Bauman launched his tee shot on the par-4 15th hole, and as it headed toward the hazard to the left of the fairway, the Palo Verde senior feared the worst.
Instead, Bauman’s ball landed in the rough and took a fortunate bounce to the right, allowing him to reach the green with his second shot.
“I guess it’s your day,” playing partner Frank Frisbee of Bishop Gorman said.
Bauman shot a 4-under-par 67 at Primm Valley Golf Club’s Lakes Course on Monday and leads by one stroke after the first day of the Division I Sunset Region boys golf tournament.
The tournament concludes Tuesday at Wildhorse Golf Club.
“I was happy with it,” said Bauman, the defending region champion. “I should’ve not went pinhunting on 17. That was my mental mistake. … But other than that, I felt like I was hitting the ball OK all day.”
Shadow Ridge senior Ben Davis overcame an early bogey to shoot 68 and is alone in second place. Frisbee, Sam Dickey of Arbor View and Bishop Gorman’s Blake Taylor are tied for third at 71.
Bauman, who signed with UC Santa Barbara, made five birdies and was bogey-free through the first 16 holes. He only had one 5 on his entire card, a par on No. 11.
Bauman made the turn at 3-under and birdied No. 10 after driving the green on the 270-yard, par-4 hole. He also birdied the par-4 14th after his approach shot spun to within 5 feet of the hole and went on to par No. 15 after the close call off the tee.
“I know I have to go there and get the job done (Tuesday),” Bauman said. “I’m definitely not going to go in there thinking I already won it.”
The UNLV-bound Davis bogeyed the par-5 second hole, but bounced back with two birdies on the front side to make the turn at 1-under. He then had back-to-back birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 and also lipped out birdie putts on Nos. 14 and 17, the latter of which would have given him a share of the lead.
“It’s a good start. I definitely kept myself in it,” said Davis, the region champion in 2011 and 2012. “I just have to make putts. I hit my irons well today, gave myself a lot of chances. It’s just my putts were all super close. Not a lot dropped, but a lot were really, really close.”
The foursome featuring Bauman, Davis, Dickey and Frisbee was a combined 11-under through the opening 11 holes. Frisbee was at 3-under until a bogey at No. 12. He then chipped in for birdie on No. 13 before limping home with three bogeys on the final five holes.
Gorman shot 370 as a team and holds a slim lead over Palo Verde (373) in the team standings. Arbor View is third at 405 followed by Shadow Ridge (409).
The top two teams and the top five individuals from nonqualifying teams advance to the Division I state tournament on May 21 and 22 at Mountain Falls Golf Club in Pahrump.