STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS
FARMINGTON — Four-time defending Class 5A boys champion La Cueva took an 18-shot lead in the opening round behind the play of defending champion Zach Fullerton and Steve Sanders.
Fullerton shot a 1-under 69 at the San Juan Country Club course and Sanders had a 70.
Clovis junior Travis Reid also shot a 70, while Keith Narramore of Las Cruces, Justin Dahrling of La Cueva and senior Perry Jackson of Clovis were two shots back of Fullerton with 71s.
La Cueva posted a team score of 283. Las Cruces was at 301 and Clovis third at 302 heading into Tuesday’s final round.
Junior Gulliermo Chavez shot a 73, giving Clovis three players in the low 70s.
Clovis coach George Simmons said his team’s approach will remain in today’s final round despite La Cueva’s huge lead.
“We’ve still got to go out there and shoot for first,” Simmons said. “It’s actually a big gap to make up, but some of the older coaches told me it’s happened before.”
Reid, who finished in a three-way tie for first at state as a freshman, has struggled recently. His round Monday included two birdies and two bogeys.
“He found his swing today,” Simmons said. “He just felt more comfortable and really hit the ball well.”
Sandia led the girls 5A team race with a 369. Eldorado’s Alexandra Phelps was the individual leader with a first round 77.
Carlsbad, defending champion Alamogordo and Hobbs were tied for second, two shots back of Sandia.
Clovis senior Susan Shelley, the Lady Cats’ lone qualifier, shot a 107.
Mesilla Valley led the 1A-3A boys team standings after the first day with a score of 306 on the Riverview course in Kirtland. Ruidoso was second a shot back and NMMI was third at 309.
Kevin Welch of Portales shot the best round of the day with a 5-under-par 67 and had a five-shot lead over Brandon Putnam (72) of St. Michael’s. Adam Douma of NMMI and Pat Smith of Mesilla Valley were tied for third, with both shooting 73 on Monday.
St. Michael’s (356), Ruidoso (363) and Portales (390) were the top three girls teams in 1A-3A.
Courtney Gibson of Ruidoso was the individual leader with a 78.
Piedra Vista’s Rebekah Berve shot 79 Monday and the Panthers put themselves in great position to break the Goddard girls’ long streak of state golf titles in Class 4A.
Goddard, which has won seven straight state titles and 15 of the last 17, found itself in unfamiliar territory as the runner-up after the first day of play at the Pinon Hills course in Farmington.