STOCKTON — Considering the gusty conditions along with the slippery and unforgiving greens of Brookside Country Club, bogey was a good score on some holes during the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV Tournament Monday.
And bogey was good enough for East Union High sophomore Will Brink to advance to next week’s SJS Masters Tournament.
Ian Stogdell and Ryan Jones turned in a 76 and 78, respectively, to finish 1 and 2 for Oakdale High, East Union’s Valley Oak League rival and the SJS Division-IV champion.
Since players from the divisional titlist earn automatic bids to Masters, Brink and three others went to a playoff for the three individual berths.
Joining him on the challenging 450-yard, par-4 ninth hole were Central Valley freshman Anthony Bonales, Vista del Lago’s Dalton Theis and Kyle Listar of Union Mine. They finished in a tie for third place with 79s.
Nerves got the best of Brink on his tee shot, which ended up left of the fairway. But he wasn’t alone, as Bonales and Theis both went left and Listar sliced right toward the hole-1 fairway.
“I was still nervous but it was nice knowing that no one else had that perfect lie on the fairway,” Brink said. “I got lucky actually; the lie on my second shot turned out to be pretty good. It was (comforting) knowing that 5 would likely get it done.”
Brink’s ball sat up nicely on the rough, but he had a blind shot to the green. His approach started left of his intended target, but he got a favorable bounce that set him up perfectly for an uphill chip-and-run from the fringe.
Brink knocked it on, and his par putt break left of the cup. Listar sank his par putt, while Bonales also finished in 5. Theis didn’t finish out, as a mishit on his second shot proved to be his outdoing.
“I wanted to end it with a par, but it’s good to be able to play next week,” Brink said.
Brink will be the lone representative from East Union’s VOL championship team to compete at The Reserve at Spanos Park on May 16.
East Union finished fourth as a team with a 441, with Oakdale (421), Vista del Lago (436) and Sonora (437) placing ahead of the Lancers.
Scoring for East Union were: Jordan Duval (86), Evan Lewis (91), Zac Couch (91) and Jordan Lund (94). Eric Lewis carded the team’s dropped score of 99, which is respectable considering the bevy of triple-digit finishes.
“From the beginning of the season until now these guys have been tremendous in the way they’ve improved,” East Union coach Dennis Wells said. “I’m probably more proud of this group than any other in my 8 years, and that’s including our section championship girls teams.”
Four area players qualified for the divisional tournament as individuals out of the VOL.
Conference MVP Drew Allen of Sierra posted a disappointing 95. Teammates Ryan Leasure and Kasey Milam ended up with a 92 and 99, respectively.
Weston Ranch’s Joel Keough turned in a 92.
“It was insane out there,” Allen said. “I just couldn’t make the shots that I wanted; my swing was kind of messed up.
“The wind didn’t help and the greens were really fast and breaking a lot. There were a couple of shots that I felt really good about; they just didn’t turn out very well. It’s a very tough course.”