By Dave Wagner: Freedom Newspapers
CLOVIS — Portales’ top golfers weren’t quite on their game Monday, so leave it to a relative newcomer to pick up the slack for the Rams.
Freshman Rick Bergman shot 42-41 — 83 to help Portales slip past host Clovis and into second place in the Wildcats’ invitational golf tournament at Chaparral Country Club.
Artesia, led by individual medalist Austin Helton’s 80, took boys team honors with a score of 343, three shots in front of the Rams and seven ahead of Clovis.
Hobbs ran away with the girls team title, shooting 379 to runnerup Clovis’ 414. The Lady Eagles’ Brandi Goodwin (91) and Sharilya Patrick (92) took the top two spots in individual competition.
All five Portales entrants finished in the 80s on a brisk, damp day, but the Rams’ top players — freshmen Will Archibeque (89) and Donavin Sanchez (87) — struggled a bit.
Portales’ No. 4 and 5 players, Bergman and sophomore Zach Smith (87), helped pick up the slack.
“It’s definitely a confidence booster for those two,” said Portales boys coach Patrick Crowley, whose total squad numbers only six. “Rick Bergman and Zach Smith played very well. It’s definitely going to be a tight race every time we qualify (five of the six) for touornaments.”
Bergman, who tied for third place individually with Hobbs’ Jake Brooks, said it was a matter of dealing with the elements.
“I was pretty pleased with the way I was hitting it,” Bergman said. “You had to really compensate for the wind. My short game was very good today, and that’s what kept me in it.”
As for his other players, Crowley said it was a matter of a mistake here and there.
“They’re starting to realize how important just a couple of holes can be,” Crowley said. “Every shot counts, and you’ve got to have that mentality.”
Dora’s boys finished last among five full teams, shooting 453. Clay Smith led the Coyotes with a round of 91.
The Portales girls played two girls at the varsity level and two in junior varsity competition. Lindsey Woodard had the Lady Rams’ top score for the day at 117.
Elida’s Lindsey Ward competed by herself, finishing at 49-54 — 103.