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Home-course advantage?

Manteca golfers fall short of advancing to Masters

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Home-course advantage?

Manteca High’s Justin Morrish blasts his ball out of the greenside bunker on hole 14 at Manteca Park Golf Course on Monday. He tied for the best score (80) among area golfers competing at the Sac-J...

JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin


POSTED May 6, 2014 2:01 a.m.

Manteca Park Golf Course was not kind to some of its most frequent patrons Monday.

Manteca High’s Justin Morrish and Nick Rounsaville of East Union carded solid scores, but no local golfers are moving past the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV Tournament. Only the top two teams and three individuals not part of qualifying teams advance to next week’s SJS Masters Tournament at The Reserve at Spanos Park.

Both Morrish and Rounsaville finished 8-over-par 80, falling three shorts shy of forcing a playoff hole for a Masters berth. They hoped to turn in lower scores on their home course, but the sometimes-gusty conditions did them no favors.

“I can’t really complain about the score,” Morrish said. “I wish I could take back a few shots here and there but overall I played pretty good.”

Morrish registered 40s on each nine and picked up some needed momentum with a mid-range birdie putt on the course’s signature eighth hole. 

He ran into some bad luck on the 172-yard, par-3 14th hole. His wayward tee shot sailed left of the green and settled alongside the chain-linked fence. With a shortened backswing and high-lipped greenside bunker guarding the flagstick, it was his toughest shot of the round.  Morrish’s chip attempt hit the lip and rolled down onto the sand, and he missed his putt to save bogey.

Morrish finished the round strong by sinking a long uphill par putt on 18.

“I didn’t get a couple decent breaks on the back nine and some putts weren’t falling,” Morrish said. “I shot a decent score but it could have been better.”

Morrish, a senior, qualified as the No. 2 season points leader out of the Valley Oak League. Sonora’s Billy Kiriluk, the Most Valuable Player of the VOL, occupies one of three qualifying spots with a 77. Cosumnes Oaks’ Jake Mawson and Central Valley standout Anthony Bonales scored 76s to grab the other two.

With four players finishing in the 70s, Central Catholic went unchallenged in its defense of the SJS Division IV championship. The Raiders accumulated an impressive 384 score (against second-place Vista del Lago’s 415) and was paced by low medalist Nick O’Brien’s 75.

East Union placed fourth with a 439, seven strokes behind VOL champion Sonora. Sierra (474) ended up sixth out of the eight qualifying teams.

“Central Catholic just shot a great score,” East Union coach Dennis Wells said. “Our main thing is that we’re a young team. I’m real proud of them. It was not quite the number I was looking for today, but I think that I have a young team that is going to be great for a couple of years.”

East Union is returning five of its six starters next year, including Rounsaville. The talented sophomore took double bogeys on holes 13 and 14 to derail his chances of continuing his season.

“Had I played those two more conservatively I would have been right in the mix,” Rounsaville said. “It could have been a lot better. I struggled around the greens and my tee shots were a little off.”

Trevor Baum and Eric Lewis shot 88 and 89, respectively. Lewis is the lone senior on the team. Ryan Lee and Manuel Telles each scored in a 91 to round out the Lancers’ final tally.

Matt Rose led Sierra with an 85 and was followed by Chris Schmitz’s 92, Blake Settlemoir’s 95, Chuck Good’s 99 and Isaac Gutierrez’s 103.

Manteca’s Brandon Ramirez also competed in the tournament as an individual, checking in with a 99.

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