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It only took Monday’s season-opening tournament for the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys golf team to see what it would be up against in 2008-09.
A pair of Class AAAA teams, including District 2AAAA opponent Bernalillo, was among the six teams that finished ahead of the Hilltoppers at Monday’s Los Alamos Fall Invitational.
The Hilltoppers had 355 team strokes Monday at Los Alamos Golf Course. Albuquerque Academy, the defending Class AAAA champion, shot a blistering 301 Monday to take the team title.
At the 14-team boys tournament, which kicked off the fall season, Academy’s Chargers had three golfers shoot within three strokes of even par. Charger Simon Miller won the event with a 1-over 73, edging St. Michael’s Parker Ashton by one stroke.
Senior Evan Black was the top Los Alamos finisher of the day, carding an 81, topping Thomas Herrera’s 83.
Black overcame a slow start Monday. After shooting a 44 on the front side, he finished with a 1-over performance on the back nine.
Herrera, who played at the No. 1 team spot Monday, had a 41 on the front and a 42 on the back.
“It was OK,” Herrera said of the team’s performance in its first outing of the fall. “We could’ve played a little better. For me, putts weren’t falling (Monday), and it sounds like a couple of our guys were struggling a little bit.”
Herrera and Black were taking the top two spots vacated by Curtis Norman and Craig Girrens from last season, a pair of graduating seniors that were solid throughout most of 2007-08.
Black had a solid showing at the District 2AAAA championship in May, losing the individual district title to Norman in a playoff.
Henry Stam had an 89 Monday, the third-best score of the day for the Hilltoppers.
Miller, playing in Herrera’s foursome Monday, started off the day like gangbusters, firing a 3-under 33 on the front side. Miller cooled off on the back, however, but was still good enough to pick up the victory.
Many players said after their rounds that the greens were playing hard and fast Monday, which elevated some scores.
Los Alamos was generally pleased with its performance to the green during the tournament, but the green conditions were a factor, as was a steady wind blowing from the southwest throughout most of the day.
St. Michael’s, coached by Lee Sanchez, one of the top professionals in the state and reigning Atomic City Invitational champion, wasn’t too shabby on the day, either. The Horsemen finished with a 307, placing three individuals in the top 10.
Bernalillo finished with 331 strokes for sixth place, well ahead of Los Alamos’ pace.
1. Albuquerque Academy, 301; 2. St. Michael’s, 307; 3. Hope Christian, 315; 4. Grants, 317; 5. Mesilla Valley Christian, 330; 6. Bernalillo, 331; 7. Los Alamos, 355; 8. Santa Fe, 369; 9. Bosque, 385; 10. Los Lunas, 388; 11. Las Vegas Robertson, 392; 12. East Mountain, 405; 13. Española Valley, 437; 14. Raton, 458.
1. Simon Miller, Academy, 73; 2. Parker Ashton, St. Michael’s, 74; 3. Nathan Gruda, St. Michael’s, 75; (tie) Elliot Feng, Academy, 75; (tie) Max Dawkins, Academy, 75; (tie) Greg Patti, Mesilla Valley, 75; (tie) Tannin Cash, Grants, 75; 8. Jeffrey Trujillo, Grants, 76; 9. Marty Sanchez, St. Michael’s 77; 10. Tanner Davis, Hope, 78; (tie) Lyle Tso, Bernalillo, 78; Evan Black, 81; Thomas Herrera, 83; Henry Stam, 89; Garrett Idler, 102; Woody Moss, 102.
Kory Nelson, 89; Tim Branch, 94; Tanner Vaughn, 108; Will Phillips, 121; Josh Trujillo, 134.