Gorman junior loses 4A state title in playoff

RENO — Nichole Corpus-Massucci had been steady all day, consistently finding fairways and greens, and it had her in position to win a state championship.

But to win, the Bishop Gorman junior needed that one moment of greatness.

That shot, an 18-foot birdie putt in a sudden-death playoff, narrowly lipped out Tuesday, and Bishop Manogue’s Alex Phillips tapped in for birdie to win the Class 4A girls golf state championship at Hidden Valley Country Club.

“I really wanted to make that,” Corpus-Massucci said, with one tear she’d missed wiping away running down her left cheek. “That just barely missed, and that hurt because I knew (Phillips) was going to make hers.”

Playing in the final group, Corpus-Massucci rallied from a slow start and a three-stroke deficit to pass her playing partners on No. 16.

But Phillips birdied the par-3 17th and eagled the par-5 18th to finish the two-day tournament at 9-over 153. When Corpus-Massucci bogeyed 17 and posted a two-putt par on 18, the two were tied and headed for a sudden-death playoff.

“I didn’t even know what my score was. I didn’t know I was going to be in a playoff,” Corpus-Massucci said. “(But) I was pumped. I was ready.”

Said Gaels coach Ben Gutman: “The girls in her group started hot, and she didn’t start the way she wanted to. But she’s not the type of player who’s going to blow up. She’s going to be right there the whole round.”

The Sunset Region champion, Corpus-Massucci simply could not get the big shot when she needed it most.

After both players hit solid tee shots on the playoff hole, Phillips’ second shot sailed well to the left of the green, and Corpus-Massucci got close to the front of the green.

Corpus-Massucci’s chip went past the hole and left her with the long putt. But Phillips got the great shot she needed, chipping between a gap in the trees on that side of the green to within 2 feet of the cup.

Bethany Wurster of Douglas and Taylor Quienalty of Damonte Ranch tied for third at 156. Coronado freshman Melanie Chambers, who led after the first day, finished fifth at 157 after a 10-over second day. Western’s Charlee Kapiioho tied for sixth at 163.

Manogue also won the team title, its first state championship in any sport at the 4A level, with a score of 687. Douglas was second with 701, followed by Coronado (712), Silverado (722), Gorman (763) and Pahrump Valley (813).

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