PATTERSON — Connor Larkin was far from perfect from tee to green in the Trans-Valley League Championships at Diablo Grande on Monday, but he didn’t need to be.
The Ripon High freshman was lights out with the putter, and he finished with an impressive 2-over 74 to finish as medalist, league MVP and Player of the Year. The Indians also affirmed their place as TVL champions for the fifth time in six years and seventh under 10th-year head coach Chris Musseman.
Larkin ended up edging out Zack Gardner on total league points 90-88 for the top honors and was voted as MVP. He was the only competitor to turn in a sub-80 score Monday, with Hughson’s Ben Johannes (80) and Ripon’s Rhet Herrin (88) rounding out the top three.
“He really grinded it out,” Musseman said of Larkin. He hit two or three fairways and two or three greens in regulation, but he had 21 putts in 18 holes. He was chipping it close all day long.
“The thing with Connor is he keeps working and doesn’t get down about a shot, it’s always on to the next. He just played his game and is very mature for a freshman.”
Ripon as a team scored a 446. Runner-up Hughson finished with a 463 and Escalon took third with a 481. The three teams qualified for next Monday’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division V Tournament also held at Diablo Grande.
The Indians ran the table in dual matches after dropping their season opener to Hughson.
“It’s one thing to go out and dominate the entire schedule as we did in the past, but this is more satisfying because of the way we started,” Musseman said. “The kids had to come together, work hard and play for each other. Rhet Herrin is such a great leader within the group and I just can’t say enough about it. He really brought the team together and made it a team in an individual sport.”
Ripon’s Luis Candido (sixth, 90) and Trent Hawes (ninth, 93) were among the top 10 placers. Justin Brito added a 101. Herrin, Candido and Brito join Larkin on the all-league team.
Valley Oak League
COPPEROPOLIS — It was the Central Catholic Show at Saddle Creek Golf Resort. The undefeated league champion dominated with a 368 and individually had the four best scores with Tyler Ward’s 68 and league MVP Matt Robinson’s 69 leading the way.
East Union was the runner-up with a 430 with Oakdale trailing the Lancers by five strokes. Four Manteca Unified individuals advance to the SJS Division III Tournament with the VOL’s top three teams.
Weston Ranch’s Austin Thao (78) and Lathrop’s (79) were among the medalists and all-league golfers. Sierra teammates Nathaniel Livingston (105) and David Ketner (100) earned enough league points to also move onto sections.
East Union all-league performers Trevor Baum and Mike Lozano carded an 82 and 88, respectively. Clayton Dorland (85), Ryan Lee (85) and Ezra Lendhardt (90) make up the rest of the Lancers’ team score.
The section tournament takes place next Monday at Oakdale Golf & Country Club.