Moments after accepting his first-place medal, Zane Thomas had to dart away from the leaderboard to grab his golf bag from sprinklers that had suddenly turned on.
That was about the only thing that went wrong Thursday for the Arbor View freshman.
Thomas followed his 3-over-par 75 at Badlands Golf Club on Wednesday with a 4-under 68 Thursday to clinch the Class 4A Sunset Region championship at Mountain Falls Golf Club in Pahrump.
“It’s pretty special,” said Thomas, who had six birdies. “It was a tough course out there and I feel like I played pretty well. I thought it was possible, but I knew I had to play really well to beat all the competition out here.
“I just got a lot of putts to fall and that made it easier on myself.”
Palo Verde won its third consecutive team title with a 776, edging Centennial (782) for the second straight season.
Both teams clinched spots in the 4A state tournament, which starts Wednesday at Red Hawk Lakes Course in Sparks. Bonanza (815) was third.
“I think at the beginning of the season, people kind of overlooked us because we were defending state champions … we lost a lot of kids,” Palo Verde coach Jeff Wolfram said. “We’ve played nails here down the line, and I’m real proud of our kids.”
Kyle Melchiorre led the Panthers with a 153. He was followed by teammates Nick Roman (153), Thanapon Iamsaard (154), Josh Lo Manto (160) and Errek McClellan (160).
Jake Barton carded a 155 to lead Centennial, followed by Greg Kerber (156), James Newman (157), Brad Rowland (160) and Zach Chyz (161).
Individuals from nonqualifying teams to reach state were Thomas, Bonanza’s Yongsoo Shin (151), Pahrump Valley’s Shane Lindemann (154), Bishop Gorman’s Connor Morris (154) and Durango’s Aaron Page (158).
Wolfram said Palo Verde finished on top because of a renewed focus for the final round.
“Eight strokes is not a lot,” he said of the Panthers’ lead over the Bulldogs after the first round. “It’s about a stroke and a half a kid.
“When we sent the kids out, we told them it’s 0-0. Let’s go play 18 holes like this is the only thing.”