WASHOE VALLEY, Nevada — Alex Byer was re-living one hole after his round of golf Tuesday, May 8, at Toiyabe Golf Club in Washoe Valley, Nevada.
The Whittell senior shot a team best 93 on a bright, hot, sunny, windy day to lead the Warriors to a second-place finish in the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association Class 2A Northern Region Boys' Golf Championship tournament and a berth next week in the state meet, but he was thinking about the 10 he took on the par-4 14th hole. His first two booming tee shots veered left and out of play.
"I'm consoling myself on the inside," Byer said jokingly while relaxing a few minutes after competing his 18 holes and waiting for the rest of the scores to be posted.
Had he earned even a bogey on the 14th, Whittell would have won the northern region championship, but aside from that one hole, he finished fifth overall.
A lot of players were likely thinking about strokes that got away as the top four teams were separated by just 10 strokes. The top three — North Tahoe 388, Whittell 392, Sierra Lutheran 394, Incline 398 — qualified for the state meet.
"We were pleased with our efforts," said Whittell head coach Steve Maltase. "We easily could have shaved off some strokes and done better. We had too many four putts and bad decisions. We hope to work on that and come out on top at State next week. It looks to be a great, well-balanced tournament. I was real happy that Alex was a fifth-place medalist. He has put in a lot of time over the years and deserved the result."
Incline was disappointed being just outside of the top three and qualifying for state.
"It's heartbreaking for sure, a gut-punch," said Incline head coach Sam Canino. "I think we were pretty much expecting to make it through so it hit the team pretty hard."
Incline's Satchel Hirsh had his share of great shots, but also heartbreak. He fell one stroke shy of claiming the individual title. He three-putted on the 18th hole and was visibly disappointed knowing that he was tied going into the last hole. He finished with a 10-over par 82.
But he was upbeat afterwards and already looking ahead to the state tournament he hopes to win. The top five golfers not on state-qualifying teams earned an individual berth. Hirsh finished second last year at state as a freshman.
"It was great weather except it was a little windy. I started out a little rough and then for 10 holes or so I was even and playing really well," said Hirsh, who is a member at Toiyabe. "But it's all about state. Edgewood was kind of a mess last week. I practiced for four straight days and got a lot fixed. But I'm going to keep working on it and hopefully I'll be really sharp for state."
Incline sophomore Zach Pexa battled the heat and wind to shoot a 100, which was good enough for a spot at state.
"Zach did really well to score what he did on that course," Canino said. "He's come a long way and I expect he could shoot lower at state. There is definitely a bright future for the golf program, we're not going anywhere."
North Tahoe's Murphy Scott was the overall winner with an 81. There were 10 teams represented and seven with full teams.
Helping Byer get the Warriors to state were Zach Jones (96), Patrick Smorra (100) and Jonathan Duffy (103). Corey Huber added a 104 and Jack Forvilly added a 110.
Also for Incline, Cooper Lyons a 106 and Matt Paolilo carded a 110.
The NIAA Class 2A Nevada State High School Boys' Golf Championship tournament will be held on Wednesday and Thursday, May 16-17, at Boulder City Municipal Golf Course in southern Nevada.