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Ripons Larkin shoots 76 at Masters tourney
GLF--Larkin at Masters file pic
Ripon freshman Connor Larkin tees off on hole 7 during a Trans-Valley League dual match with Hughson at Spring Creek Golf & Country Club. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin

STOCKTON — Connor Larkin’s streak of tournament wins ended Monday at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters at The Reserve at Spanos Park, but this may just be the beginning of something special for the Ripon High freshman.

Larkin finished with a 76 but started out with bogeys on holes 4 and 5 and finished his round with a double bogey on 3. Ripon Christian’s Ryan Garcia also competed in the NorCal qualifier and had a 77.

“Tough start and tough finish, but he battled all day long and I couldn’t be more proud of him,” Ripon coach Chris Musseman said of Larkin. “For a freshman to play the way he did in that environment was awesome.

“He was a little bit disappointed with his round. He felt like he left four or five shots out there and didn’t play very well. I think it’s great that he wasn’t just satisfied with it. He wants more.”

Larkin’s expectations are understandable. He was medalist with an even 71 for the SJS Division V Tournament at Diablo Grande last week. On that same course, he captured the Trans-Valley League title, earning MVP and Most Outstanding Player of the Year honors. He led the Indians to their fifth TVL title in the last six years.

“He’s always played golf over the summer, but this is the first time he’s played a long stretch of competitive golf,” Musseman said. “He got better as the year went on and it looks good for the future. It was really nice for him to show up this spring after losing Nick Sharp (to graduation) last year. I wasn’t sure if we’d have that ace, and he filled that role real well.”

The top three teams and four individual not part of qualifying teams advance to the CIF Northern California Regional Championships next Monday, May 23 at Corral de Tierra Country Club in Salinas. Davis (361) beat out Lodi (371) and Jesuit (372) for the SJS banner. Vista del Lago (374) and Granite Bay (375) came close to qualifying, and Valley Oak League champion Central Catholic (380) finished fifth.

Jesuit David Laskin was low medalist with a 6-under 66 and was one of eight players in the red. Tai Mamea (Christian Brothers), Chris Ebster (Gregori), Chandler Kallas (Vista del Lago) and Jarrett Hill (Vacaville) all shot 71s to earn individual berths to the NorCal tournament.