Brandon Bauman walked off the ninth green following a birdie on Wednesday with visions of a 66 dancing in his head.
Then came the back nine at Mountain Falls Golf Club in Pahrump.
“I got too excited, too eager,” Bauman said. “I started jumping on the ball, and it went sideways.”
Bauman lost all of his four-stroke lead after double bogeys on the 12th and 14th holes, but he closed with four straight pars to finish at 2-over-par 74 and win the Sunset Region boys tournament.
Bauman had a two-day total of 1-over 145, two strokes ahead of Bishop Gorman junior Frank Frisbee, who bogeyed Nos. 16 and 17 to finish with a 76. Two-time defending region champion Ben Davis of Shadow Ridge carded a 75 on the 6,671-yard course to finish third at 148.
“Holding it together the last four holes is definitely one of the things I can take from this round,” Bauman said. “I stuck three shots in a row. I wish I made one of the putts, but apparently par was good enough today.”
Bishop Gorman freshman Owen Rosebeck (75) and Arbor View freshman Sam Dickey (77) tied for fourth at 149. First-day leader Brandon Smith of Cimarron-Memorial followed his 70 on Monday at Primm Valley Golf Club with an 83 and dropped into a tie for eighth.
Gorman freshman Christian James shot 74 as the Gaels won the team title for the first time since 2006 with a two-day score of 769. Palo Verde was second at 810.
The top two teams and the top five individuals from non-qualifying teams advance to the Division I state tournament Tuesday and Wednesday at Sierra Sage Golf Course near Reno.
“I’m proud of my team,” Frisbee said. “Going back to my freshman year, we didn’t make it and last year we were second to Palo Verde. It feels good to know we’re growing.”
Bauman held a two-stroke lead over Frisbee heading to the par-3 14th, but he put his tee shot in the water and was unable to get up and down after his drop. Frisbee made par to tie for the lead at 1-over, and then each parred No. 15.
“I pretty much treated it like match play after that,” Bauman said. “I had to settle down and wait for things to happen and not force anything.”
Frisbee missed a short par putt on No. 16 to fall one shot back, and his 7-foot par putt on the par-3 17th didn’t fall, either.
“It was really anybody’s tournament up until the last stretch of four holes,” said Frisbee, who had no birdies after making six birdies on the first day at Primm Valley Golf Club. “I didn’t play too bad, but I didn’t have one one-putt. That’s probably what it came down to.”
Bauman nearly put his tee shot in a fairway bunker on No. 18, but it stopped in the first cut of rough. He then knocked a sand wedge from 122 yards away to within 12 feet and tapped in after his birdie putt lipped out.
“When things were going bad I told myself, ‘You never know what’s going to happen. Stay in it till you sign your scorecard,’ “ Bauman said. “I’m glad I won, but the big one’s next week. Hopefully I can keep it together for an entire round.”