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Youth served
Brinks sophomore season sets foundation for decorated career
WIll Brink, the Bulletin's 2011 All-Area Golf MVP. - photo by HIME ROMERO


Andrew Bonner, Ripon sophomore: Bonner left little room for argument as to who was the best golfer in the Trans Valley League, finishing the season as MVP as well as the Most Outstanding Player of the conference. Played in a five-man playoff group for last berth into NorCal’s after shooting a 74 in regulation.


Drew Allen, Sierra junior: The Sierra High standout closed out the Valley Oak League season as MVP, sharing medalist honors in the conference tournament by shooting a round of 76 at Greenhorn Creek.


Jordan Duval, East Union junior: Helped the Lancers record their fourth VOL title in five years, turning in a top-5 round of 80 in the league championships. Pushed Lancers No. 1 Will Brink throughout the season and will team up next year to lead the Lancers for his senior season.


Logan Vos, Ripon Christian senior: Led the Knights in their inaugural season in the Southern Athletic League, recording medalist honors in the league tournament by shooting a 76 at the par-72 Diablo Grande Legends course.


Ryan Leasure, Sierra senior: Advanced to the Division-IV Playoff Tournament with teammate Drew Allen by shooting an 85 in the VOL Championships and finishing as one of the league’s top six individuals in the season-long points standings.


— Jagada Chambers

The fact that The Bulletin’s 2011 All-Area Golf MVP was able to meet and conquer every hurdle placed in his path was shocking enough. But the fact that East Union High’s Will Brink was able to put such a season together as a sophomore is practically unheard of.


Brink showed time and time again that age is not the only number the standout managed to keep low, helping guide his Lancers to their fourth Valley Oak League title in the last five years. After carrying around the team’s No. 1 bag through the VOL schedule, Brink really got things going in the postseason.


After finishing one stroke off the pace in the league tournament, Brink took the remainder of his season to new peaks, closing with a 2-over-par 74 in the Northern California Golf Association/California Interscholastic Federation Northern California High School Championships.


“At the beginning of the season I didn’t think that I was going to make it to Nor Cals,” Brink said. “I wasn’t even really thinking about it I was just hoping that our team would do well and that I would be able to play well.


“I never saw anything like this coming into play.”


Brink’s biggest accomplishment may have been outlasting a laundry list of talented golfers right here in the area. Brink found himself in the midst of a battle for the top spot, and thrived when it came time to extend his season longer than every golfer around.


“It’s hard not to know what those guys are doing,” Brink said of the abundance of young talent in the area. “With Drew Allen (Sierra) and Andrew Bonner (Ripon), those two are really good and you can’t really ignore it. I don’t know if that really drives me; I just know I want to continue improving.


“You have to know what your competition around you is doing.”


Brink and Bonner were linked in the quest to nab the final Nor Cal Championship berth during the Masters, combining with three other golfers for a five-man playoff to advance to the next round. Brink won the three-hole playoff – the extra rounds at The Reserve at Spanos Park started at the 10th, jumped to the 18th, and returned back to No. 10 to settle matters – with a birdie on the 347-yard, par-4, 10th hole.


His round at Butte Creek Country Club for Nor Cals nearly left the standout in his third consecutive playoff grouping, but Brink fell just one stroke short of forcing another hole. He started off a little sluggish, but fine-tuned his game enough to come within a birdie putt of joining the tournament’s top golfers.


“A lot of it comes down to just being nervous,” Brink said. “When it’s Nor Cals you just get a little nervous. I was real nervous when I played; I actually hit my first shot out of bounds.


“I think that fact alone has a lot to do with how well you play.”


Youth is supposed to have a lot to do with how a golfer plays, too, but Brink has been able to push aside any notions that he can’t compete. With two seasons in front of him and a head coach in Dennis Wells that will demand the very best, the sky is the limit for Brink.


“That is all I am trying to do is improve. If I keep practicing I really don’t know how good I’ll end up,” Brink said. “But I just have to keep practicing and see where I get to. I’ve definitely been able to get better. I just need to get a little bit more consistent.


“There really is still a lot of room for improvement; it’s just about getting those improvements.”