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GIRLS GOLF: Record-setting Coronado eyes third straight state title

Kylie Keyer broke 80 in three of the four Southeast League girls golf matches this season that were contested on par-72 courses.

The Coronado senior posted 2-over-par in two of her team’s nine-hole matches, and she shot 5-over 77 in the Class 4A Sunrise Region tournament on Oct. 10 to tie for sixth with teammate Crystal Querol.

In nine matches this season, Keyer’s score officially has counted toward the Cougars’ team score one time.

Such is life on possibly the best girls golf team in state history.

“It’s pretty heartbreaking sometimes when you don’t get the spot you’re working so hard for,” Keyer admitted. “But at the same time, it’s easy to have so much fun with these girls, because we’re all out here doing what we love and having fun.”

Coming off a record-setting performance last week in the region tournament, Coronado will go for its third consecutive state title — and a little more history — when the Class 4A tournament tees off Monday in Carson City.

The two-day event begins at 10 a.m. at Eagle Valley’s West Golf Course. The Class 3A state tournament takes place Monday and Tuesday at Ruby View Golf Course in Elko.

“I just think the competition amongst our team is probably the thing that drives them the most, not any kind of historical significance of where they’re at,” Cougars’ 16th-year coach Joe Sawaia said. “I’ve seen teams with better top-end play, maybe one or two girls. … I’ve never seen six and seven and eight players like this. And that’s what’s really fun. They all want to beat each other, but it’s all healthy, team-related.”

The Cougars returned seven letter winners from last season’s squad and tied the state record for lowest winning score in relation to par (2-over 290) in their second Southeast League match at Legacy on Sept 6.

Coronado set the mark last week at Chimera with a 6-under 282 to win the region title. The Cougars could have included Keyer’s score in their total and still broken the state record by three shots.

“We’ve been putting in a lot of hard work, so we’re really excited to see where it takes us,” said sophomore Victoria Estrada, the medalist at the region tournament. “We’re not going to take it for granted at all, but we’re definitely going to try to back it up with a state victory.”

Bishop Gorman, the Sunset Region champion, is expected to contend for the team title with Coronado after finishing as the state runner-up last season.

The record for lowest 36-hole score in relation to par is 32-over (608) set by Green Valley in 2010, though weather could play a factor in the Cougars’ chase. Temperatures are projected to be in the 40s and 50s.

“If your score is counting on this team, you’ve played a high level of golf for that round,” Sawaia said. “That could be any one of these girls in that position where they’re fighting just to have their score count, and competition breeds success like that. I think that’s what really drives them. They don’t want to be that one who has their score thrown out.”

Contact reporter David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow on Twitter: @DavidSchoenLVRJ

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