It was No. 5 for Jacque Galloway, No. 1 for Aidan Thomas – but equal satisfaction for both seniors.
Cleveland High’s Galloway and St. Pius’ Thomas were the only two players under par Monday at the Albuquerque Metro Golf Championship, and their rounds also sparked their teams to titles at breezy Paradise Hills Golf Course.
“This,” said Thomas, “was the tournament I really wanted to win this year.”
Thomas birdied the final two holes to finish 2-under 70, giving last year’s Class 5A state individual champion a four-shot triumph over Albuquerque Academy’s Tay Hwang.
For Thomas, it was his sixth victory of prep golf’s wraparound season, which for many schools begins in the fall.
Last year, Thomas and the Sartans didn’t compete at the metros, as they were in another event trying to get qualified for state.
But Monday provided some personal vindication for Thomas, a New Mexico State signee. He finished second in this tournament as a freshman, then tied for third as a sophomore. But despite his many accomplishments, he found the round to be white knuckle in nature.
“Throughout the whole round, I was nervous,” Thomas said. “I couldn’t keep my hands still. To finish birdie-birdie shows how clutch I (was).”
St. Pius won a scorecard playoff against Academy to earn the massive metro trophy.
The Sartans and Chargers both shot rounds of 321. The tiebreaker was to compare the top three players from each team on the fifth hole, the No. 1 handicap hole at Paradise Hills.
It was done in a match-play fashion, with St. Pius players having the better score on two of the three cards.
There was also a tie for third place, among three teams: Cleveland, Sandia Prep and Rio Rancho, all 15 shots back. Rio Rancho’s Jahmar Hylton (75) finished third individually.
• The girls’ team standings were easier to sort out. Led by Galloway, who has signed with Iowa, Cleveland shot a team score of 337, which was 18 shots in front of runner-up La Cueva.
Galloway tied her best round of the season, carding a brilliant 4-under 68, equaling a score she shot at Twin Warriors Golf Club earlier in the spring.
Galloway was a sparkling 5-under on the four par-5s, including an eagle at the second, where she poured in a 20-footer.
She, like Thomas, said it was important to have a leash on her emotions.
“I’m trying to keep it cool. Whenever I feel myself getting too hyper focused, my perfectionism gets in the way,” Galloway said with a big smile.
She has won every metro title since she joined Cleveland’s varsity, and she’ll return to Paradise Hills soon for the District 1-5A tournament before she embarks on her state title defense next month at Canyon Club.
Galloway was 4-under at the turn Monday, and her 68 could have been a whole lot better. She missed no fewer than three putts inside 5 feet on some quick greens.
“This is my favorite tournament every single year,” Galloway said. “It’s always been more competitive for us.”
On the individual leaderboard, Hope Christian’s Brooke Sturtevant shot 80 to finish as runner-up to Galloway. Sophia Zamarripa of Sandia (81) was third.
State tournaments are May 13-14.