Perhaps, the third time's the charm.
For the first time in school history, the Tigers have a state champion in golf.
With a fabulous two day, 36-hole performance by Josh Fambro, an individual state title in the sport has been brought home to Taos. The junior carded a 152 (8 over par) to win the Class A-4A state tournament at Four Hills Country Club in Albuquerque May 7-8.
Fambro has tried achieving this goal before, making the trip to the state golf championships twice during his freshman and sophomore years. In 2016, Fambro was the lone boy from Taos to qualify for state and traveled to Roswell, where he finished tied for seventh place with a score of 156 (14 over par).
Last year's class A-4A state tournament was held at Piñon Hills Golf Club in Farmington, but was cut short due to inclement weather. Fambro placed fourth in a field of 40 golfers. Thus, a first place in his third attempt seems to be right in line with the natural progression of a fine young athlete.
In the first round, Fambro started his quest at 8:40 a.m. and came charging out of the gate with a birdie on his first hole. (The boys started on hole No. 10 on day one.)
He played error-free golf and remained even-keeled for six subsequent pars in the early hours of the day. A fluke double-bogey on No. 17 shifted the momentum a bit, but he made the turn at +1 and was still leading the field by two strokes.
In the second half of day one, Josh stumbled a bit, shooting a bogey on the first hole and a double-bogey on hole No. 4 to further batter his score and slip to +4. A rebound birdie on hole 5 and a par on 6 seemed to right the ship, but another double-bogey on 7 and a bogey on 9 caused further setbacks. At the end of his first 18 holes, Fambro slipped to +6.
"Josh is an emotional player, and he felt like he might have given the title away with those extra strokes he picked up on his second nine," said his dad and head coach, Jim Fambro, who acknowledged that playing in the heat of the day was a factor in his afternoon performance. "But after seeing that other players were affected in the same way, we felt like we could be in the mix."
Indeed, the Taos Tiger was in the mix. The end of day one saw Fambro in a three-way tie for first place with Jacob Lucero from Hope Christian School and Alexander Moores from Cottonwood Classical Prep School with a score of 78 (6 over par). Given that the two Albuquerque golfers were essentially playing on their home course, both coach and player shifted their thinking and used the tie as a motivator.
On day two, Fambro set out to tackle the course with the second foursome at 7:40 a.m. and put together a solid round to finish at +2. His birdie on hole No. 18 was a product of pure emotion that his dad and coach had eluded to.
"By the time he stepped into the tee box on 18, he knew he did his best," said coach Fambro. "He was pumped."
Overall, Fambro had an outstanding regular season. He picked up a total of nine qualifying legs, the most garnered by any boy in class A-4A, during the split schedule that began September 18, 2017. Three legs are necessary to earn an invite to the state tournament, and Fambro picked his needed share during his first three outings.
Throughout the year and during his qualifying thread, Fambro's scoring average was a solid 73.1 strokes per match. His personal best round occurred at the New Mexico Highlands University Gene Torres Golf Club in Las Vegas March 19 where he carded a 68 (4 under par). Fambro won three tournaments in 2017-18.
"He really has worked hard for this moment," said the elder Fambro, alluding to all the thousands of hours Josh has spent swinging clubs on the practice ranges, practice greens and in competitions honing his skills. "It's just an honor to witness this."
On the girl's side, Taylor Tomashot finished tied for 10th with a score of 192 (+25). Madison Tomashot placed 20th place with a score of 213 (+36) while Caitlin Tafoya came in 23rd. Veronica and Makayla Montoya finished in 38th and 39th place, respectively.