The Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV and V tournaments both ended dramatically on Monday.
At Stevinson Ranch Golf Club, Ripon High garnered its third section banner by edging Trans-Valley League rival Hilmar by a single stroke in Division V.
Meanwhile, East Union standout Will Brink won a playoff hole at Castle Oaks Golf Course in Ione to make his fourth straight appearance to next week’s SJS Masters Tournament. Ripon resident Andrew Bonner led Central Catholic to the Division IV crown.
The top teams and best three individuals who are not part of the Division IV and V championship squads advance to Masters.
Ripon finished with a 430 score to win at Hilmar’s home track. It came down to the final group that included Ripon’s Jack Brierly and Hilmar’s Dalip Singh. Brierly needed to check in four strokes better for the Indians to prevail and he did just that, carding an 89 to Singh’s 93.
Ripon knows what it’s like to lose a divisional tournament by narrow margins, doing so the previous two seasons. Last year, the Indians lost to Dixon by a stroke.
“I was beginning to wonder if we were the Buffalo Bills of the 90s,” Ripon coach Chris Musseman said. “The pressure’s been building and building. We didn’t play that great today, but we did enough to get it done. Having been on the other side of that the past couple of years, I know that it’s a tough way to lose. I feel bad for Hilmar. We have an enormous amount of respect for their program.”
Hilmar sophomore Landon Azevedo was low medalist with an even 72 and advances to Masters. Nick Sharp, Ripon’s own sophomore ace, medaled with a third-place score of 76, but he and Azevedo were tied going into the 18th hole. Sharp was done in by a triple bogey, as his tee shot on the par-five hole rolled out of bounds by mere inches. Azevedo clinched the individual title with a birdie.
Nathan Suender (83), Kyle Head (88) and Robby Figeroid (94) also accounted for Ripon’s team score.
“We have two great golfers in our league for the next two years,” Musseman said. “Nick played great, he was just unlucky on 18.”
East Union was unlucky in the Division IV tournament. The Lancers recorded their best score of the season with a 395, but Central Catholic impressively outshot them by 17 strokes.
“I can’t complain when the guys shoot a 395,” East Union coach Dennis Wells said. “I’m real proud of my guys. Central Catholic just had a great day, so you just tip your hat to them.”
Bonner, who played at Ripon High his freshman and sophomore years, was the top finisher with a 68.
Brink had to beat out Central Valley’s Anthony Bonales for the final individual Masters berth. Both finished 1-over 72, but Brink buried a long birdie putt on the par-5 first hole to secure his spot. It’s the third time Brink has won a playoff hole in a section tournament. Brink previously outlasted Bonales in the Division IV tourney two years ago.
“He’s 3-0 in playoffs,” Wells said. “Everybody went out and watched them play the hole and you can tell the guys were nervous, but Will played it beautifully.”
East Union had five solid scores behind Brink. Kyle Davis (77) and Zach Couch (78) chipped in sub-80 scores. Jordan Lund and Eric Lewis finished with an 83 and 85, respectively. Freshman Nick Roundsville posted a throw-out 86.
Five individuals from other Manteca schools also competed. Sierra was well represented by Blake Settlemoir (82), Matt Rose (83) and Chris Schmitz (86). Justin Morrish (86) and Ray Tinnin (92) competed for Manteca High.
“They played their best match of the year at the right time,” Sierra coach Jeff Williams said of his trio. “It was a good way to end the season off, and all three of them are returning for next year.”
The Masters Tournament takes place next Monday, May 13 at The Reserve at Spanos Park in Stockton.