From the rough to the green, rain or shine, the boys at Turlock and Pitman High are teeing off. That's right; it's time for high school golf.
The Bulldogs are fresh off their 8th consecutive CCC championship and are working their way towards their ninth. After winning a league title, finishing as section runner ups, and missing a spot in the state tournament by a single stroke, Turlock is now relying on four returners to continue its success. Sophomore Teo Chiesa, Junior Hayden Sparks and Senior Tyler Gomes, 2011 All CCC, are among those returners who have helped Turlock go undefeated in league so far.
"The guys need to play smart and they need to keep a level head, rely on their skills and instincts," Turlock's head coach Jason Boswell said. "We'd like to compete for another league title and do well in playoffs. With this team I think we can do that as long as the guys play to their ability."
After a fifth place finish last season Pitman is3-1 in league. With five returning players, which include senior Andrew Grishaw and junior Logan Martinez, the Pride plans on breaking into the upper echelon of the CCC this year. First year player Steven McKiernan, who is a junior, has also proven to be an integral asset for Pitman so far as the Pride aim to compete with rival Turlock.
"In order for us to succeed this year, we need to focus on the things we do well, and make the small adjustments in our game that we are struggling with," Pitman's head coach Matt Jeans said. "We have a hard working group of guys that are determined to improve, and with that kind of attitude, success is just around the corner.
The Bulldogs and Pride both had matches on Tuesday, Turlock against Golden Valley and Pitman against Buhach Colony High.
Turlock and Golden Valley both entered the match undefeated in what was surely a preview of the long term race for this season's CCC title. After nine holes under the hot sun the Bulldogs came out on top 233-222.
"This is a good win for us," Boswell said. "We went into the match thinking about where we were in league competition. We now control our own destiny as long as we play the way we can."
Chiesa turned out Turlock's best performance on the day three strokes over par with 39 points. Hayden and Gomes finished with 42 points apiece, Zach Cederling finished with 49, and Darin Marchant finished with 50.
Pitman's match against Buhach also went well as the Pride won 269-235. Martinez had the best performance for the Pride with 43 points. Evan Schulze finished with 46 points, Grishaw finished with 48, and Phillip Hails and Steven McKiernan finished with 49 points apiece.
"They were happy with their performance," Jeans said. "We are a young team who has made great progress from the end of last year to now and we're off to a really good start."
Pitman now sits in third place behind Turlock and Golden Valley. The Pride will host the Cougars on Thursday for the chance to jump into second place behind a Turlock team that handed them their lone league loss so far. The Bulldogs will also compete on Thursday against Atwater High. The matches will mark the end of the first round of league play before the Midseason Conference Tournament on the 27th.