RUIDOSO — Clovis will have to make up 10 strokes on defending Class 4A state champion Los Alamos in order to extend its streak of titles at the Leroy Gooch Invitational.
Bunching four players in the top 13, Los Alamos shot a 297 on Monday at Alto Lakes Country Club.
Led by seniors Travis Reid and Guillermo Chavez, the Wildcats (307) are six strokes ahead of third-place Alamogordo and Mayfield after the first round of the two-day tournament.
Clovis has won the tournament four straight times.
Jason Where of Mayfield shot a 2-under-par 69 and holds a two-stroke lead over Reid and Nick Brady of Los Alamos.
Chavez is tied for fifth at 73.
The 15-team tournament, featuring mostly teams from southeastern New Mexico, shifts to The Links at Sierra Blanca today.
“My No. 4 and No. 5 guys didn’t play up to their potential,” Clovis coach George Simmons said. “But that’s not a difficult deficit to make up, especially when you take four player scores.”
Los Alamos returned its top five players from last year.
“They’re a good team,” Simmons said. “They’ve played steady all year long.”
Clovis finished second to the Hilltoppers in an Albuquerque tournament earlier in the season.
“We need to stay steady tomorrow and we need to let them make the mistakes,” Simmons said.
In the girls tournament at Cree Meadows Country Club, Roswell Goddard shot a 355 and holds a 21-stroke lead over Carlsbad.
Clovis is ninth at 435.
Kelly Velarde led the way for the Class 4A powerhouse Lady Rockets with an 82.
Junior Whitney Jones rallied for a 45 on the back nine to lead Clovis with 102.
“We struggled. We had a tough, tough day,” Clovis girls coach Jeff Fontanilla said. “We always struggle when we get here. It’s a real tight course and they have a tough time handling it.”
Fontanilla said he wants his team to put Monday’s round behind them and start fresh today.
“I want these girls to enjoy themselves,” he said. “They could shoot a good score and get a state leg.”
The girls play at Cree Meadows again today.