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SUNSET REGION: Palo Verde rallies to top Centennial for Sunset Region boys golf title

Palo Verde’s boys golf team started the day in an unfamiliar position.

The Panthers were 11 strokes behind Centennial for the Sunset Region championiship after the first day of blustery conditions at Siena and had to travel to Mountain Falls Golf Club in Pahrump to make up the difference.

They liked their chances.

Dillon Dudley fired a 1-under-par 71 on the second day to lead the Panthers, and Palo Verde improved by 52 strokes on the second day for a two-day total of 810 to overtake the Bulldogs and clinch the Sunset Region title.

“Hopefully that doesn’t happen again, because our No. 1 (Kyle Melchiorre) shot 89 (at Siena),” Dudley said. “But knowing that we can overcome pretty good and shoot in the low 70s like today, it feels good.

“And hopefully we can give (Sunrise champion) Coronado a run for their money.”

Centennial, which was led by individual runner-up Greg Kerber’s 72, finished at 817 to punch its ticket to the state tournament, which begins Monday at TPC Las Vegas.

“It was a good recovery,” said Dudley, who shot two eagles and two birdies with bogeys. “I was all over the place, but then I could recover on the next hole. The par 5s were my holes today; I tore them up. It was a good day..”

Arbor View’s Zane Thomas carded a final-round 69 and a two-day total of 142 to win the individual championship for the second year in a row.

“It wasn’t quite as windy today, and I kept the ball in play all around, on the fairways and greens,” said Thomas, a sophomore. “That was my main goal, and I did pretty good, I think.

“And I made solid putts from inside 10 feet. I felt comfortable.”

Thomas was one of only two golfers in the field to shoot in the 70s at Siena on Monday, and after a few early wind gusts at Mountain Falls, the weather calmed down, and the sophomore played his game.

“I felt like if I could get off the tee in play, then I could shoot a pretty low score today,” Thomas added. “I tried to play down the middle (par golf), and I just happened to birdie a couple of par 5s.”

Kerber finished in second place with a two-day total 149, and Yuki Kato of Faith Lutheran shot 73 on the second-day for a 153and third place.

Dudley was fourth, Pahrump Valley’s Shane Lindemann carded a two-day 155 for fifth, and Desert Oasis’ Niko Gonnella shot 74 on the second day for a sixth-place 156.

Songjae Baek of Desert Oasis also qualified for state with a two-day 156.

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