Taylor Montgomery was in the first group to tee off Monday at Primm Valley Golf Club. That turned out to be a big advantage for the senior from Foothill.
Montgomery, a UNLV recruit, capitalized on calm conditions to shoot 7-under-par 65 and grab a three-shot lead after the first day of the Sunrise Region boys golf tournament.
The tournament concludes Wednesday at Mountain Falls Golf Course in Pahrump. The top two teams and the top five individuals from nonqualifying teams advance to the Division I state tournament May 14 and 15 at Sierra Sage in Reno.
“I hit it solid from tee to green,” Montgomery said. “I play this course pretty well. There’s no out-of-bounds, so I can let it fly and get it up and down.”
While Montgomery’s foursome and the handful of groups behind it had almost no breeze to contend with on the 6,642-yard Desert Course, the Sunset Region golfers had it much tougher as the wind picked up and a few raindrops fell during their back nine.
Cimarron-Memorial sophomore Brandon Smith fired a 70 to lead the Sunset by one shot over Brandon Bauman of Palo Verde and Bishop Gorman’s Frank Frisbee. Freshman Sam Dickey of Arbor View is another shot back after a 72 as seven golfers were within five shots of the Smith.
Palo Verde freshman Joe Ender made a hole-in-one on No. 4 and shot 76.
“(The wind) probably kept everybody together and didn’t let anybody run away with it, which you can do pretty easy on this course,” Bauman said. “That will definitely make Wednesday a lot harder. Every shot will be critical.”
Montgomery went out in 33 and made birdies on Nos. 13 and 14 to begin a strong finish. He scrambled to save par on No. 16, then smoked a drive just past the green on the par-4 17th and made birdie to reach 6 under. On the par-5 18th, Montgomery knocked a 100-yard bunker shot to within 2 feet and tapped in for his eighth birdie.
Foothill sophomore Andrew Chu closed well with three birdies on the back nine and is second in the Sunrise with an opening 68. The Falcons shot 370 as a team and led by one shot over Coronado, which was paced by Michael Alvarez (71), Bradley Keyer (72) and Matt Welch (74). Green Valley was third at 393.
Bishop Gorman led the Sunset Region after a 383, with Palo Verde (395) second and Arbor View (413) third.
Frisbee had the most bizarre round of the day, as the junior made six birdies before settling for a 71. He also got up and down to save par after he spent almost five minutes digging his ball out of a gopher hole near the 17th green.
“That was crazy,” Frisbee said. “I’ll take a round in the 70s. My putting was pretty good, and I think that’s what got the job done for me.”
Contact reporter David Schoen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5203. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidSchoenLVRJ.