Pahrump Valley junior Breanne Nygaard was locked in a tight struggle with rival Carolyn Lemon of Western for second place at the Class 3A State Tournament, moving ahead by one stroke after a birdie on the par-5 16th hole at Boulder Creek Golf Club.
With Truckee’s Ryan Flynn on her way to scorching the course with a 66, second place was the prize Tuesday. Now if they only could see.
As the last group approached the 18th green, they were fighting a losing battle with darkness.
“That was interesting,” Nygaard said of the impending nightfall. “On the last hole, I had to depend on other people to see the golf ball for me because I could not see it in the sky.”
But she found her ball on the green, and after two-putting on the final hole to score a bogey 5 she had nosed out Lemon by one shot, combining her 78 at Boulder Creek with a 76 the day before at Boulder City Golf Course for a 154 to Lemon’s 155.
For Nygaard, there was no disappointment in finishing second.
“As of right now, I would say it’s wow, I finished second because I struggled today really hard on this golf course,” said Nygaard, who won the 3A Southern Region Tournament at Mountain Falls the week before. “My shots weren’t as clean as I wanted them to be, so to place second is awesome for me.”
But the good news didn’t stop there for Pahrump Valley. Entering the second round trailing second-place Boulder City by 18 strokes, the Trojans were 3 strokes better Tuesday than they were Monday while the Eagles fell apart, following up their first-round 372 with a 417 to finish 12 shots behind the Trojans. Elko easily won the team title.
“I thought we were too far behind to reel Elko in, but we thought maybe we could get Boulder, and we did,” Pahrump Valley coach Bob Hopkins said.
And the Trojans did it with depth; three Boulder City players finished between Nygaard and the next-best Trojan golfers, but their fourth golfer — the last score to count in the team standings — finished 9 strokes behind the Trojans’ fourth golfer on Tuesday.
“That’s the best part of this whole tournament,” said Nygaard, who birdied the par-3 8th and 12th holes in addition to the 16th. “We were down 18 going into the second day, and we were like, we have to grind, we can pull through, and we were actually able to, which is really great.”
“The first day we played pretty good, but everybody played better than us,” Pahrump Valley coach Bob Hopkins said. “We just told the girls play hard today and things can happen.”
And they happened just fine for the Trojans despite a roster filled with inexperienced golfers. Shania Hopkins shaved 6 strokes off of her first-day score to tie for 14th at 206 with teammate Anastasia Furman. Toni Cross-Smith was better Monday than Tuesday and finished in a tie for 23rd at 213. Also competing for the Trojans were Sherrie Monjaras (28th, 219) and Alyssa Holmes (40th, 265).
“Shania is a freshman; Sherrie and Alyssa, this is the first year they ever played golf; Toni’s a sophomore but this is the first year she’s played high school golf, although she has played some junior golf,” Hopkins said. “And we’ve got everybody back for next year, so we’re hoping we can get the big one.”
Despite Flynn’s brilliant 66 and 1-under 143 for the tournament, Truckee was nowhere near contention. But her accomplishment had everybody at Boulder Creek talking.
“It was crazy to watch,” said Nygaard, who played in a foursome with Flynn. “That’s her lowest score ever, it’s the round of her life. I’m glad to finish second to a score like that.”
Flynn’s back nine was remarkable, as she was under par on six consecutive holes, including an eagle on the par-5 13th. Her 66 came despite a double-bogey 6 on the 18th.
“That’s crazy,” Hopkins agreed. “She’s a great player. Any time you have a player like her or Breanne you can be a state contender.”
And, like the entire team, Nygaard will be back for the Trojans next fall.
“She loves the game,” Hopkins said of Nygaard. “For kids to be good at golf, they have to fall in love with the game, and she loves the game. She’s a good kid and has the right demeanor to be a good golfer. Golf is one of those sports where you can’t get angry. She gets disappointed, but she doesn’t get angry.”
Even if she can’t see her ball.
Class 3A State Golf Tournament
1. Ryan Flynn,
Truckee 77 66 143
2. Breanne Nygaard,
Pahrump Valley 78 76 154
3. Carolyn Lemon,
Western 77 78 155
4. Caresse Basaraba,
Elko 82 84 166
5. Sydney Krumm,
Boulder City 84 96 180
1. Elko 363 380 743
2. Pahrump Valley 390 387 777
3. Boulder City 372 417 789
4. Truckee 407 409 816
5. Spring Creek 452 444 896