NBL golf tournament: Newman's Euphrat top medalist

By MICHAEL COIT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

PETALUMA — A windswept Rooster Run Golf Course challenged the North Bay League’s best in the boys league finals to cap a competitive season Monday.

With Montgomery and Maria Carrillo heading to North Coast Section tournaments, likely joined by Ukiah, the league finals will decide other schools’ top three individuals who will move on. The section golf committee sets the qualifier and Tournament of Champions fields Wednesday.

Nick Rogers of Montgomery shot a 74 to take the lead in the first group of golfers. Frankie Euphrat of Cardinal Newman came into the clubhouse later with the same score. Euphrat won the gold medal because he was a shot better on the back nine holes. The day’s third medalist on was Julian Landon of Montgomery with a 79.

To shoot within range of par — 72 — on the windy afternoon was a solid showing, particularly because most of the golfers had not played Rooster Run much, if at all. The course, used by the Sonoma County League, was chosen as a neutral site.

“The wind was really bad. Sometimes you had to go up three clubs,” Rogers said of using heavier sticks. “It was just hard to focus, to dial it in.”

Already featuring creeks and other hazards, Rooster Run was a good test for the golfers moving on to play tougher fields and even more challenging courses. Playing an 18-hole round compared with 9-hole league matches also helps.

“The competition, courses, everything is tougher. It’s just a bigger scale,” said Javier Torres, the number one Ukiah golfer.
Toughest on Monday were holes six through nine and the final pair. The notorious afternoon wind kicked up as the first groups were completing the front nine.

Finishing in a wind alley with holes 17 and 18 going west to east forced golfers to adjust approaches, yet stay aggressive. On the final, par 5 hole, for instance, golfers must power balls through trees and over a creek to reach the green in  three shots.

“I played really good on the front nine and then I blew up,” said Torres, who still finished with a solid 82. “It’s a really tough course.”

The league finals completed a competitive season with a greater number of teams fielding strong squads. League champion

Montgomery lost only one, to third place Ukiah, but also played very close matches with runner up Maria Carrillo.
The league’s low scorer, Aaron Walker, plays for sixth place Santa Rosa. Walker didn’t play in the NBL finals Monday so he could compete in a qualifying tournament for the California amateur.

Right with Walker in low scoring honors on the season was Rogers. Coming off a junior tournament title over the weekend at Oakmont, the Montgomery sophomore is playing his best as the stakes increase in prep golf.
Maria Carrillo and Ukiah are expected to reach the section qualifier, May 7, at Metropolitan Golf Course, in Oakland. The top three finishers on Monday not from teams reaching section tournaments will play in the qualifier as individuals.
Montgomery is heading to the Tournament of Champions, on May 14 at Castlewood Country Club, in Pleasanton.

The Nor Cal and state finals follow.

“The NBL got us more competitive and more into it,” Rogers said. “It’s more important to do it now because you can keep advancing.”