By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Casa Grande’s golf team, owners of the longest current winning streak in Redwood Empire prep sports, displayed its dominance again Monday as the Gauchos easily won the Sonoma County League Tournament at Oakmont West.
Paced by medalist Corey Ghiringhelli’s 1-under par 71, Casa’s players shot a combined 405, 27 fewer strokes than runner-up Healdsburg. Analy and Windsor tied for third at 434. Then came Petaluma (437), Sonoma Valley (454) and El Molino (533).
The Gauchos have won 29 straight league dual matches dating back to 2010.
The victory Monday earned Casa a berth in the Tournament of Champions on May 14 at Castlewood Country Club in Pleasanton.
Monday, Ghiringhelli nailed five birdies but also had four bogeys. After what happened to him exactly a year ago at Oakmont West, Ghiringhelli was thrilled with a 71.
“I shot a 77 in the SCL tournament here last year, so I feel good about being 1-under,” the senior said. “I was concentrating on leaving my approach shots short of the hole. I was able to make several long birdie putts.
“The greens are fast and on a lot of holes, it’s a downhill putt if your ball carries past the pin. If you miss going downhill, you’re looking at a long putt coming back.”
There were hard-luck stories among those posting low scores.
For instance, Analy’s Clayton Farris could have tied Ghiringhelli for medalist honors with a par on No. 18. However, he made the mistake of over-hitting his second shot. He wound up three-putting and took a five. He finished one back.
Petaluma’s Matt Mederios, who won this tournament as a freshman three years ago with a 69, could have come close to that score had he not been penalized for two out-of-bound shots. He wound up with a 74.
“Both times my ball hit the cart path and went out of play,” the senior said. “On No. 9, I took a double bogey.” He salvaged his round with four birdies.
Analy’s Mike O’Daniel would loved to have taken Mulligans on his last two holes. He was 1-under as he stepped up to the tee on No. 17.
“I triple bogeyed No. 17 and double bogeyed No. 18,” he said with a grimace. “I had a great round going.” His final score: 76.
Farris, Mederios and O’Daniel will represent the league next Monday in the Division 1 qualifier at Monarch Bay Golf Club in San Leandro. A low score there and they will join the Casa Grande team at the Tournament of Champions.
The Healdsburg team might also have more golf to play. There’s a chance they’ll be invited to next Monday’s Division 2 Championship at Tilden Park in Berkeley. They’ll find out Wednesday night.
There was a melancholy mood as the awards were handed out Monday. This was the last time Casa Grande and Windsor will play in the tournament. Those two schools will join the North Bay League in the fall.
It was a poignant moment when the seven SCL coaches were called to the scorer’s table where they were roundly applauded.