The euphoria felt by the Gregori High golf team last week was replaced was replaced by long faces seven days later.
The Jaguars were knocked askew by the wind Monday at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Golf Championship. One week after winning the Section D-I South title for the school’s first blue banner, they ended their season in the gusts of The Reserve at Spanos Park.
Gregori, the three-time Modesto Metro Conference champion, shot a 401 and tied with Turlock for seventh place. Only the top three teams advanced to NorCals next week at Roseville, and the Jaguars fell far short. They trailed third-place Jesuit by 17 strokes.
One week before, Gregori tamed Spring Creek Country Club in Ripon in 378.
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“Disappointing,” Gregori coach Bradd Stewart summarized. “This was a fantastic season. We had a really good run. I feel really bad for Christopher.”
Christopher Ebster, a three-time state qualifier, saw his senior season end after his 2-over-74, two strokes too many to reach a playoff for the individual NorCal berths. He bogeyed his final two holes on a day where not much on the greens worked for him.
68 The score by Masters medalist Justin Gums of Lodi
Ebster slam-dunked a 20-footer for birdie at the 10th to improve to even par. Misses for birdie from eight feet and three feet on the next two holes, however, stalled his momentum.
“We all could have played better,” said Ebster, the UNLV-bound talent who takes part in Local Qualifying for the U.S. Open on Tuesday at The Preserve near Carmel. “It (The Reserve) was playing tough.”
The wind, gusting to nearly 15 mph, affected all shots by at least a club. It became a mental grind – nothing new in tournament golf – and some managed better than others.
Gregori junior K.J. Dieker and freshman Ricardo Diaz held together twin 77s, but Ethan Hardy slipped to 84, Michael Doll had 89 and Joshua Imatong’s 92 was discarded.
“Once we got that section banner, we kind of let down,” Stewart said. “They didn’t have it today.”
Only Lathrop junior Christian Guzman will represent the area at the NorCals next week in Roseville. He shot 72, then survived a four-way playoff for the final three spots to advance. A par into a headwind at the par-4 10th, the second playoff hole, punched his ticket.
“I left a lot of shots out there and hit two in the water,” said Guzman, who stabilized in the playoff after bogeys on his final two holes in regulation (at the fourth and fifth holes).
The hard-luck story belonged to Bret Harte senior Mitchell Menzes, one of the foursome at 72 who played off for the final three berths. The lefty bogeyed both playoff holes and was eliminated.
Once we got that section banner, we kind of let down. They didn’t have it today.
Gregori coach Bradd Stewart
Davis of Yolo County and Oak Ridge tied at 382, but Davis took home the blue banner after a scorecard tie-breaker. Jesuit (384) earned the final team berth.
Lodi’s Justin Gums, who shot a 70 for medalist honors last week at the D-1 South, recorded an even more impressive 68 at The Reserve. Also extending their respective seasons were Matt Sutherland of Rio Americano and Kevin Huff of Vista del Lago.
Turlock was topped by Dylan Cummings’ 74 and Connor Old’s 75.
Other individual scores: Chandler Hendrick of Pitman a 79, Alec Butler of Big Valley Christian an 80, Zack Gardner of Escalon an 81, Hunter Jones of Downey an 88 and Vince Boyack of Summerville an 89.