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Trojans golf off to a decent start

The Pahrump Valley Trojans boys golf team finished in second place in the silver flight at the Pahrump Valley Invitational, a two-day golf tournament at the Mountain Falls Golf Course.

There were 18 teams in the tournament divided into three flights, Gold, Silver and Maroon, with the best projected golf teams being in the Gold flight.

Trojans golf coach Bob Hopkins said his team played OK on their first outing.

“We have to stay away from big numbers,” the coach said. “The kids have to limit a bad hole to a bogey or double bogey at the worst. We didn’t play well on the back nine the second day. Austen (Ancell) had a triple bogey (3 over par) on 17 that kept him from finishing in the top five.”

Last year Pahrump finished first in the third-tier Maroon flight with a 719, so the team is improving.

“We finished sixth out of 18 teams so that was encouraging,” Hopkins said. “All in all the tournament went great, I just wish we could have played a little better the second day and won the Silver flight.”

Finishing first in the Gold was Bellermine College Prep from California with a score of 596, with Palo Verde finishing in second with a 598. In the Silver flight, Desert Oasis finished in first with a 685, Pahrump was second with a 690. In the Maroon flight, Green Valley finished first with a 742 and Liberty finished second with a 748. The Trojans’ second team finished in seventh with 834.

Jack Trent of Palo Verde had the best individual score and won the Gold flight with a 138. Trojans junior golfer Austen Ancell, last year’s individual state champion, finished in seventh place in the Gold flight with a score of 152. He started off strongly at the end of the first round, carding a one-over-par 73.

Ancell enjoyed the tough competition. He said he had played with Trent before and was not intimidated at all by Trent’s first-round minus 6 showing on the first day.

“I had played with him before,” he said. “I just tried to keep after him on the second day.”

Ancell came out with a strong finishing even after hole 10. Ancell had a chance to make up some serious ground on Trent on hole 11, 12, and 13. On hole 11, a par 5 hole, he found himself on the green in two strokes but had an 80-foot putt to sink and ended up three putting that hole for another par.

Ancell’s big chance to catch up with the leaders came on hole 12, where he drove the ball close to 314 yards off the tee and then on his second shot, which was about 154 yards out, knocked the ball within 2 feet of the pin.

“I could tell from the shot that it was good,” Ancell said.

He showed little emotion when he got to his ball even though he was all set up for an eagle shot.

“It’s all about the next shot,” he said. “My mind was focused on making the putt.”

He ended up with a birdie (one-under par) on that hole.

When asked if missing the putt for the eagle affected his play on 13, he replied, “By that time I had forgotten that hole and was thinking only of 13,” Ancell said. “I screwed up on 13 and found myself in the bunker on 13. I know where I can make up strokes, but the wind also played a role on the second day on the last five holes.”

Ancell ended up 7-over par for the day.

Pahrump’s golfers all have improved since last season. The team competed in the Maroon flight last year and this year was moved up to the Silver.

Derek Moore finished in sixth place in the Silver flight with a 175, Mike Hildebrand finished in eighth place in the Silver with a 179 and Drake Asuncion finished 15th with a 183.

Case Murphy carded a 190, Kelby Lindberg a 193 and Canen Hastings a 204.

The team had a match on Tuesday against Bishop Gorman, which was past deadline. Bishop Gorman finished the Pahrump Invitational in third place with a 617.

Contact sports editor Vern Hee at vhee@pvtimes.com

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