PATTERSON — Connor Larkin is playing his best golf at just the right time.
One week after earning MVP and Player of the Year honors out of the Trans-Valley League, the Ripon High freshman shot an even 71 Monday to win the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V championship at Diablo Grande.
Larkin will be the only Manteca-area golfer competing in the SJS Masters Tournament next Monday, May 16 at The Reserve at Spanos Park in Stockton.
“One thing I love about him is that he isn’t afraid of anything,” Ripon coach Chris Musseman said. “He’s already asking me what he needs to shoot at Masters to move on (to NorCals) — he’s not thinking about anything but the Masters. For a freshman that’s impressive.”
Larkin finished with four birdies and four bogeys and was 1-under at the turn. Mitchell Menzes of Bret Harte and Jacob Rosenthal of Dixon were co-runners-up with 79s. Summerville’s Vince Boyack shot an 81 and will join Larkin and Rosenthal as individual qualifiers at Masters.
Qualifying as a team was Bret Harte, which outshot second-place Ripon 441-451. Luis Candido carded a sixth-place score of 83 for the Indians. Rhet Herrin (93), Trent Hawes (97) and Justin Brito (107) rounded out Ripon’s score.
“It’s frustrating to be that close and not finish, but before the season started if you told me we were winning league and taking second at divisionals I would have taken it,” Musseman said. “I was looking at us taking third in league, but the kids worked really hard and I have to remember that we have no seniors.”
OAKDALE — East Union’s Trevor Baum was the top Manteca Unified performer with an 80, but he ended up five strokes shy of a Masters berth.
Central Catholic (382) and Vista del Lago (397) are the team qualifiers. River Valley teammates Riley Bell and Trey Davis along with Tai Mamea of Christian Brothers advance as individuals after they each carded a 75.
East Union finished with a disappointing 447 for sixth place. Other Lancers scoring were Mike Lozano (84), Ryan Lee (90), Ezra Lendhardt (95) and Manuel Telles (98). Local individuals competing were Lathrop’s Christian Guzman (83), Weston Ranch’s Austin Thao (93) and Sierra’s David Ketner (105) and Nathaniel Livingston (115).
Central Catholic standout Matt Robinson was the lone competitor in the red with a 1-under 71.