Merrick, Welch shoot top scores in Lovington

Freedom Newspapers

LOVINGTON — The Portales boys golf team is on its way to state. Behind the efforts of Cassidy Merrick, there’s no reason to believe the girls won’t join them.
Merrick and Kevin Welch took the top finishes Thursday at Lovington, and both Portales teams got qualifying scores.
Behind a 72 from Welch and a 73 from Chris Adkins, the boys posted a 305 for a nine-stroke win over Carlsbad. It was the third qualifying score of the season for the Rams, earning them a berth in the state meet May 10-11 in Kirtland.
“It does take a little (pressure) off,” boys coach Greg Poynor said. “We know we’re going to state no matter what, and I hope we can just improve our game until then.”
Matt Parkey and Trevor Ferguson each shot 80 for Portales, while Dale Welch struggled on the back nine and finished with an 81. Poynor couldn’t be disappointed with the efforts, since the individual qualifying score was 77.
The boys team finished 22 strokes under the team qualifying score of 327.
The girls finished in second behind Carlsbad (343), but a 76 from Merrick paced the girls to a qualifying team score of 389.
“With Cassidy’s score, that was really easy,” Portales coach Brenda Gomez said of shooting under the qualifying score of 400.
“(Merrick) played really, really well. That’s an awesome score. She was in a groove and played to her top level. She wasn’t hitting it really long, but she was putting well and chipping well.”
Roni Gomez shot a 94, falling two strokes short of an individual qualifying score. Oma Creighton shot 107, Michelle Miller 112 and Ciara Price 124.
The teams will be back in action Monday at Artesia.