Backed by a good-sized contingent of supporters — including former teammates, classmates, teachers, and friends and family — Will Brink played his final round as an East Union Lancer during Wednesday’s CIF/CGA State Boys Golf Championship in scenic Carmel.
The most accomplished golfer in school history capped his decorated four-year career with a solid 3-over 74 score at Quail Lodge & Golf Club, placing him in a four-way tie for 19th in the field of 54.
“It was real cool. I had never played a course in Monterey, so it was nice right off the bat,” said Brink, who will continue playing for UC Davis. “Everybody who made it is a good player. I knew I’d have to shoot a low number. My coach (Dennis Wells) thought that 66 would be the winning score and he was right on it.”
Carding the impressive 5-under finish was Jack Chung of Sunny Hills (Fullerton), which finished second in the team standings. Stevenson captured the team state title with a 368 and Sunny Hills trailing by two strokes.
Par-5 holes and inconsistent putting kept Brink from joining the six individual placers who all finished in the red. Starting on the back nine, he was even through four holes after a bogey on 11 and birdie on 13.
The back-to-back par 5s on 14 and 15 put him in an early hole. Brink had a routine birdie opportunity on 14 but three-putted for a bogey, and on the 15th he smacked his second shot out of bounds en route to a double bogey. He made the turn 4-over-par 40 and three-putted for par on the 540-yard first hole.
“I hit decent tee shots on those par fives and they were pretty straight and simple,” Brink said. “I just didn’t take advantage. I finished 4-over on the par 5s, which you can’t happen if you want to compete in these types of tournaments.”
Brink was competitive nonetheless. His struggles on the par 5s more or less negated his strong finish, which included a five-hole stretch in which he buried three birdies on four, seven and eight. He wrapped up the round, of course, on the par-5 ninth, the longest hole on the course at 541 yards. Brink bogeyed.
“I was able to kind of regroup, so I was happy with the way I ended it,” Brink said. “Finishing under par on the second nine made me feel a little better.”
Brink’s round was typical of how his postseason run went. He executed clutch shots when needed and won playoff holes to advance out of the Sac-Joaquin Section’s Division IV and Masters tournaments. He then did just enough at NorCals to qualify for state, shooting a 74. A 75 would have put him in a four-man playoff for the final berth.
“The main thing I told Will going into the tournament is that it’s not that big of a deal — it’s not about winning or losing today,” Wells said. “He had to look at the hard work it took for him to get there, and the hard work that’s taking him to the next level. I’m very proud of the kid. Today he kept fighting after struggling early on, which just shows who he is.”