The Gregori High Jaguars claimed their third straight Modesto Metro Conference golf title, but their postseason saga has just begun.
They’ve got big plans.
UNLV-bound senior Christopher Ebster, Monday’s medalist with a 75 at breezy Dryden Park, has keynoted Gregori’s run since his transfer from Central Catholic as a sophomore. But Ebster, a three-time state qualifier, is the only Jaguar to have advanced past the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters level.
Their next step toward validation will be the Section Division I South next Monday at Ripon’s Spring Creek Country Club. The Jaguars placed second behind Lodi the last two years, so their chance to make a section-wide statement is less than a week away.
“A great season for us,” Ebster said. “We’re deep. I think we can make a little run this year.”
Ebster, unlike previous years, clearly was the MMC’s best. That said, he lacked his top form Monday. He struggled in the middle of the round and, in a cruel twist from the golf gods, lost his ball after he striped his tee shot at the 343-yard eighth. He walked back to the tee and reloaded for a double bogey.
“I thought I had hit it on the green,” he said. “I saw it land and bounce.”
75 Monday’s round by MMC medalist Christopher Ebster
Ebster showed his pedigree, however, with a strong finish – a birdie at the par-4 16th and, on his day’s final shot, a holed 6-iron chip from about 20 feet for deuce at the 17th.
Gregori totaled 389, 42 strokes clear of runner-up Downey. Junior K.J. Dieker, saving strokes around the greens, posted a 76 and sophomore Michael Doll had 78. Freshman Ricardo Diaz, a season-long plus, recorded a 79. The Jaguars did not count a score higher than 81.
“What’s important for us is getting a section title (next week). That’s our goal,” Gregori coach Bradd Stewart said. “And I want to see Chris go low at state. That would be a nice way for him to finish.”
Downey (431), topped by Eric Norris with a 77, and Beyer will join Gregori as team qualifiers for the divisionals. Individual qualifiers include Enochs’ Sody Veras (84), Michael Days of Modesto (86), Dylan Sharma of Johansen (87), Aaron Diyal of Grace Davis (88), Dev Prasad of Johansen (89) and Jose Alvarez of Johansen (90).
“Good hope for next week,” Dieker said. “Chris comes in low every time and all the other guys try to help him out as much as we can.”