Hilmar’s Landon Azevedo has welcomed the beginning of summer with a barrage of well-struck golf shots.
His form runs as hot as the weather. Last week, he won the Junior Golf Association of Northern California Match Play Championship – the banner event of the JGANC circuit – by winning five straight matches for the title at Ripon’s Spring Creek Country Club.
The Hilmar High senior launched his run with an opening 29 during the front nine of his opening match. He rallied from behind for three of his five wins and defeated Joshua McCarthy of Danville 1 up for the title. The bracket included San Jose’s Justin Suh, the high school state medalist and Northern California’s top junior, who was beaten during the second round.
“This is probably the biggest win I’ve had since I started to play in JGANC tournaments three years ago,” said Azevedo, who turns 18 next month. “I work with Shane Balfour (the JGANC executive director who gives lessons at McHenry Golf Center) who says, ‘Aim small, miss small.’ ”
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Translated, it means to aim your shots toward small places so – even if you don’t hit your target – you’re still close enough to achieve your goal.
Surely, Azevedo’s misses haven’t been by much.
He warmed up for his victory at Spring Creek by shooting a 69 at Sacramento’s Haggin Oaks during Junior World Qualifying. Though he failed to advance to the prestigious junior event, he showed he was more than ready for last week.
Last weekend, he shot 78 and 67 for second place at a JGANC tournament at Stevinson Ranch, Azevedo’s home course.
He is scheduled to compete at the 62nd Bumgardner Junior Memorial at Del Rio CC on July 7-8.
Sad loss – The valley golf scene lost a special woman in Sharon Buzzini, who died earlier this month after a hard-fought battle with cancer. She was 69. Buzzini, the wife of longtime local professional George Buzzini Jr. for 40 years, built and ran Ripon’s Jack Tone Golf with George since its opening in 1997. Sharon immersed herself in the game and won several Del Rio women’s club titles and twice won the women’s Stockton City.
What we’ll miss is Sharon’s spirit, energy and love for golf. A celebration of her life will be held Sunday, June 29, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Jack Tone. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in her name to your local community hospice or the Memorial Hospital Foundation.
The shag bag – Central Catholic High graduate Andrew Bonner has left Colorado after one golf season. He had earned his spot in the lineup – his best tournament finish was a tie for 27th – but left the program in early April due to his mother’s illness and the cold weather in Boulder. Bonner will continue his career at either UNLV or Oregon. His game remains sharp. He shot 72-70-69 for third place at the Santa Clara County at San Jose CC. ... Five members of the Modesto Junior College golf team, which placed third this season in the Big 8 Conference, will continue as preferred walk-ons at four-year schools: Team MVP Robby Wikoff at Pacific, Austen Cardoza at UNLV, A.J. Borges at Texas Tech, Carson Ellington at Cal State Stanislaus and Kris Mayfield at San Francisco State. Borges, who recorded the team’s lowest stroke average, and Wikoff earned All-Big 8 honors. ...
Modesto’s Daniel Pena missed a playoff by three shots after firing 73-75 at Riverbend in Madera during U.S. Junior Amateur Qualifying. Matt Robinson of Modesto trailed Pena by one.
Holes-in-one – Lannis Thomas, Ripon, 130-yard second at Jack Tone Golf, Ripon, 4-iron ... John Rasters, Escalon, 80-yard second at Escalon, 5-iron. ... John Richardson, Turlock, 148-yard 16th at Jack Tone, 6-iron.