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SUNSET GOLF: Palo Verde’s Annick Haczkiewicz claims title with record-setting round

Annick Haczkiewicz was at the driving range with her swing coach preparing for the Class 4A Sunset Region girls golf tournament when she jokingly made a prediction about the outcome.

“I was like, ‘Oh, I think (Monday) 10 under is going to be the number to win it,’ ” said Haczkiewicz, a junior at Palo Verde.

She wasn’t far off.

Haczkiewicz carded a 9-under-par 63 on Monday at Siena Golf Club to earn medalist honors, a record-setting round that overshadowed Bishop Gorman winning its fourth straight region title.

“Before anything, I’ve got to shout out to Annick,” Gorman coach Jim Stanfill said. “I mean, 9 under. Phenomenal.”

Haczkiewicz made eight birdies and one eagle on the 4,978-yard layout en route to her second consecutive individual region title, and her score in relation to par is a state postseason record.

The previous best for an 18-hole event was 7-under (65) by Green Valley’s Alex Kaui at Tuscany (now Chimera) in the Sunrise tourney in 2012, according to the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association record book.

The state record for any round is held by Kaui, who shot 10-under (60) at Los Prados in 2012.

“I never really thought about personally winning individually,” Haczkiewicz said. “I was just thinking about the team the whole time, because for a while there, we were only one shot away from the lead. I’ve been really grinding out my 100-yards-in clubs, so like my short game. And that’s what we were basically doing all day.”

Haczkiewicz had a string of four straight birdies on the front nine — she also missed a short putt on No. 8 for what would have been her fifth birdie in a row — and overpowered the par 5s on the back nine. Haczkiewicz made a 20-foot putt for eagle on No. 12 and birdied No. 15 after reaching the green in two.

Haczkiewicz then birdied the final two holes to shoot 6-under 30 on the back nine, helping the Panthers qualify for the Class 4A state tournament that starts Monday at Eagle Valley Golf Course in Carson City. The top two teams and the top five individuals from nonqualifying teams advance.

Gorman finished at 25-over-par 313, while Palo Verde shot 322 to hold off Faith Lutheran (329) and Centennial (339) after the three teams were virtually deadlocked at the turn.

“It was a close-contested match,” Palo Verde coach Todd Steffenhagen said. “Thankfully we had one of our good players go low, otherwise that’s probably the difference.”

Gorman was led by Hunter Pate, who birdied three of the final four holes to finish tied for second at 2-under 70 with Faith Lutheran’s Sydney Smith. Rose Baral shot 75 for the Gaels to finish alone in fourth, while Gorman’s Danielle Oberlander and Centennial’s Hailey Stevenson shot 76 to share fifth place.

“I don’t think we ever lost the lead once we got it, but it was close,” Stanfill said. “Close enough that I felt the need to walk in with my fourth player just to make sure we didn’t do anything silly because it was going to come down to that last play.

“We really wanted to see how we stacked up, have a good fair shot at validating our season, and this validates it.”

Also qualifying for state as individuals were Faith Lutheran’s Cameron Griffin (79), Bianca Rodriguez-Willrich of Shadow Ridge (80), Cassandra Ho of Clark and Katelyn Smith of Cimarron-Memorial, who each shot 81 to tie for the final berth.

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