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I-A GOLF: Battle of Faith Lutheran teammates goes to Smith in playoff

PAHRUMP — Sydney Smith and Morgan Goldstein dueled throughout the regular season for the No. 1 spot on Faith Lutheran’s girls golf team.

The teammates went head to head Thursday with a little more on the line.

Smith made birdie on the 18th hole to force a playoff, and the sophomore defeated Goldstein on the fifth extra hole to earn medalist honors at the Division I-A Southern Region tournament at Mountain Falls Golf Club.

“It wasn’t one of my goals; it was just a gift that happened,” Smith said. “It was an outcome that happened from my hard work.”

Smith and Goldstein finished at even-par 72 on the 5,389-yard layout and helped the Crusaders coast to their seventh consecutive region title. Faith Lutheran shot 310, well ahead of Clark (385) and Boulder City (423).

All three teams, along with the top five individuals from nonqualifying teams, advance to the Division I-A state tournament that begins Wednesday at Boulder Creek Golf Club.

“I know that 310 is one of our better scores,” Faith Lutheran coach Mark Cheney said, “but I also know that we’re capable of better.”

Smith and Goldstein shared the lead at 1 over through 11 holes until Smith hit her drive into a cluster of pine trees to the right of the fairway on No. 12. Smith caught a break as her ball sat on top of a water pipe and was given relief. She then punched out into the fairway and saved bogey to remain in contention.

“I definitely got lucky on that one,” Smith said.

Goldstein, who was playing in the first group, birdied No. 13 to grab a two-shot lead and showed a solid short game to finish with five straight pars. The 72 was Goldstein’s highest 18-hole score of her remarkably consistent freshman season and only the third time in nine matches she didn’t shoot under par.

But Smith got hot with her irons and birdied the par-5 15th hole. After missing birdie putts on Nos. 16 and 17, she drained a 15-footer on No. 18 to grab a share of the lead.

“I always know when my shots aren’t going to go in and when they are,” Smith said. “I just had a feeling that I was going to make that putt. I visualized my ball going into that hole exactly how it did. As soon as I saw it right on line, I walked in and fist-pumped it in.”

Smith scrambled to save par on the first extra hole and matched Goldstein’s birdie on the third playoff hole with a knee-knocking 6-foot putt.

Goldstein had a short birdie putt on the fourth playoff hole that burned the right edge before Smith made a tricky 10-foot putt back up the hill for par to close out the match.

Smith finished the playoff 1 under, while Goldstein was even par for the five holes.

“I just have the mindset of ‘Do what you have to do. You have to find a way,’ ” Smith said. “I found a way by knowing what my shots were at hand and playing them to the best of my ability, and I ended up hitting them at the pins.”

Grace Kang of Clark, who was part of a four-way tie atop the leaderboard after her birdie on No. 10, shot 77 and finished third. Faith Lutheran’s Cameron Griffin (80) was fourth, and Boulder City’s Lani Potter (81) finished fifth.

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

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