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Brink picks UC Davis over Oregon
East Unions Will Brink chips his ball during a Valley Oak League match last spring. - photo by HIME ROMERO

East Union senior Will Brink took a big step in his amateur golf career when he recently signed with UC Davis.

The two-time Valley Oak League MVP verbally committed on Wednesday, Nov. 14, the first day of the early signing period, before making it official this past Sunday. The talented lefty had his pick between UC Davis and the University of Oregon, and the choice was easy.

UC Davis offered a partial scholarship with the potential for increase in future years. The partial that Oregon presented wouldn’t have made much of a dent on out-of-state tuition costs. Additionally, Aggies head coach Cy Williams carries a roster smaller than Oregon’s, so there is more money available and opportunities to play for Brink.

That UC Davis is competitive in men’s golf, close to home and a prestigious academic institution were also big plusses for Brink, who carries a 3.86 GPA. Williams enters his 18th year having guided the Aggies to back-to-back Big West Conference championships and consecutive NCAA Division I Regional appearances.

“UC Davis plays almost the same tournaments as Oregon does,” Brink said. “Their strength of schedule is pretty similar, which was a huge thing for me. You want to play the best to see how competitive you are at that level.”

UC Davis was one of more than 20 schools that Brink contacted via email and was one of a few to respond. Even less followed up. Not only did Williams follow up, Brink said he even watched him play in a few tournaments over the summer.

“We’re very excited that Will chose UC Davis to come compete and earn his degree,” Williams said in a statement. “He’s a very talented young player that has the ability to become a four-year starter here. He is exactly the type of student-athlete we strive to have represent our program and university.”

Brink’s biggest achievement in the high school ranks is qualifying for the Northern California Golf Association/California Interscholastic Federation Championships as a sophomore. He aims to return in his final year at East Union after failing to do so last spring. He then enjoyed a breakout summer in the Junior Golf Association of Northern California circuit, as he earned a spot on the North team in the North-South California State Boys Championship.

While Brink’s hard work ultimately got him to this point, he considers himself to be “real lucky” to have some help along the way. Among those giving him a hand were East Union head coach Dennis Wells, former PGA Tour professional Kevin Wentworth and Bill Shutler, whose daughter Julie was a standout golfer at Sierra High and Sacramento State.

“They really helped me out with the whole process,” Brink said. “They helped me get my resume together and showed me how to get my name out there.”

Brink is one of four Mantecans to sign with NCAA universities in the past week, joining fellow Lancer Jordan Kron (UC Riverside, baseball), Sierra’s Iyana Hughes (Virginia, softball) and Manteca High’s Mikayla Hasal (Cal State Stanislaus, basketball).

“There’s still a whole lot of work to do — you don’t want to go up there and not play well,” Brink said. “The pressure to play well is always there, but it’s definitely nice to have the process done and to know where you’re going.”