Coronado sophomore A.J. McInerney three-putted for bogey on the next-to-last hole Monday, but he didn’t let that get him down.
Instead, McInerney sank an 8-foot birdie putt to close it out, finishing tied with Foothill’s Taylor Montgomery atop the leaderboard with a 2-over-par 74 after the first day of the Sunrise Region boys golf tournament at Dragon Ridge Country Club.
“That was happening all day — I three-putted more times than I should have,” McInerney said. “I hit a lot of bad shots (approaching) the green. I’m just proud of the way I hung in there and kept it together. It could’ve been a lot worse, but you always shoot the lowest score you got that day, and today, 74 was the best I had.”
The Cougars also finished on a high note — ending the round with two birdies and an eagle — which they hope transitions into a favorable run in the final round Wednesday at Mountain Falls Golf Club in Pahrump.
“Any time you can finish strong, it gives you some momentum into the next day,” McInerney said. “Hopefully I can carry that over. That birdie put me tied for the lead, too.”
The Cougars stood in first place with a 24-over 384 total, which coach Joe Sawaia considered a success due to the windy conditions.
“We played some wind, but I don’t think we’ve played in the kind of wind on this difficult of a golf course,” Sawaia said. “The course is set up hard. There’s a big difference in playing this three or four months ago than playing it now. The rough is up; the greens are firm because of the weather and the wind. It’s hard to control trajectory and spin. So 384 is a good score, even though we’re above our average.”
Christian Pate shot 75 and Tad Darland 76 for the Cougars, who finished with four of the top six golfers after the first day.
“Everything being equal, I think we probably played the kind of golf we played all year, which has been phenomenally consistent,” Sawaia said. “We’ve had good, balanced scoring, and it didn’t change today.”
Ryan Green was at 4-over 76 to lead second-place Green Valley (421).
Montgomery helped Foothill to third in the team standings at 428.
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