Gaels claim sixth consecutive title

When Nichole Corpus-Massucci woke up Tuesday morning and saw that the wind had finally died down, the Bishop Gorman junior girls golfer knew it was going to be a good day.

And then, sophomore teammate Nicolette Rivera made it even better.

Corpus-Massucci won medalist honors with a 1-over-par 73, and Rivera shot an 81 to complete a sweep of the top two places at the Sunset Region tournament at Silverstone Golf Club.

“It’s amazing,” Rivera said. “I’m super happy about that.”

In addition to the 1-2 finish, the duo led the Gaels to a sixth consecutive region title as Gorman totaled 354 to easily outdistance Pahrump Valley (399) and Palo Verde (402). The top two teams in the region along with the top five individuals from nonqualifying teams advance to the state tournament Monday and Tuesday in Reno. Gorman won four straight Class 4A state titles before being upended by Silverado last season.

“We’re not trying to boast about how well we play, but we are trying to set a standard for everyone to meet,” Gaels first-year coach Ben Gutman said. “Going 1-2 just lets everyone know how strong our team is.”

Corpus-Massucci, who finished fourth at last year’s Sunset tournament, shot par 36 on the nine-hole Valley Course and came home in 37 on the Mountain Course.

“I played pretty good, but I could have done way better,” Corpus-Massucci said. “I hit a couple bad shots, and I could have got up-and-down more.”

Corpus-Massucci birdied her 11th hole — No. 2 on the Mountain Course — before getting in trouble on the next two holes. She found the greenside bunker and bogeyed her 12th hole and also bogeyed the next hole. But she drained a 30-foot putt for birdie on her 14th hole, then parred three of the final four holes.

“That got my momentum going and got my focus back,” Corpus-Massucci said. “It went a little to the left, but when I stood over it, I knew I was going to make it.”

The key for Rivera was her accuracy as she hit 15 greens in regulation. The only downside was her seven three-putts.

“I definitely know what to eliminate and what not to do next round,” Rivera said.

Qualifying for state individually were Western’s Charlee Kapiioho (83), Palo Verde’s Sonja Pejak (83), Arbor View’s Alyssa Ballew (89), Spring Valley’s Julia Graham (89) and Centennial’s Anna McLaughlin (99).

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