NCS golf: Six Empire stars advance

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Cardinal Newman's Scott Mitchell. (Photo by Beth Schlanker, The Press Democrat)

Cardinal Newman’s Scott Mitchell. (Photo by Beth Schlanker, The Press Democrat)

Six Sonoma County golfers, led by Cardinal Newman’s Scott Mitchell and Petaluma’s Sean Berardi, qualified Monday for the NCS Tournament of Champions.

The six will be joined by teams from Montgomery and Analy in the TOC next Monday at Rooster Run in Petaluma. The Vikings and Tigers qualified by winning their leagues.

Mitchell and Berardi shot 73s at different courses. Mitchell played in the Division 2 championship at Rooster Run while Berardi competed in the Division 1 qualifier at Deer Ridge in Brentwood.

Par at both courses is 72.

Berardi was one of five Redwood Empire golfers to advance at Deer Ridge. Joining him will be: Maria Carrillo’s Richard Chong (74), Ukiah’s Javier Torres (75), Santa Rosa’s Aaron Walker (76) and Windsor’s Connor Jeffries (76).

Mitchell was the only area player to advance from the Division 2 tourney.

No Empire teams advanced Monday. Cardinal Newman came closest, missing by five strokes in Division 2. The Cardinals’ team score was 317 putting them in a tie for fifth. The first three teams moved on. Marin Academy finished first with a 289 score.

Maria Carrillo came up seven strokes shy in the Division 1 qualifier. The Pumas shot 427, good for 15th place. The first 11 teams advanced. Foothill posted the low score (369).

Carrillo was missing all-league player Jordan Greve. He was in school taking an exam.

Ukiah was also missing key players as Willy McAfey and Lonnie Rickel had prior commitments. The Bears finished 18th with a score of 437.

While Carrillo coach Zach Christ was disappointed with his team’s score, he was pleased with Chong’s two-over-par round. “He sank a 60-foot putt for birdie on the first hole and that boosted his confidence,” Christ said. “He didn’t take any penalty strokes and played a clean round.”

Chong shot way above his handicap. Score-wise, he was not among the top 20 golfers in the NBL. The 74 represents his best round of the year.

“This is the second time he qualified for the Tournament of Champions,” Christ said. “He seems to step up to the plate for this tournament.”

While Chong started with a birdie, Ukiah’s Torres had a double bogey on his first hole.

“He didn’t let that affect him,” coach Chris Philbrick said. “He shot one over par the rest of his round.”

The top players next Monday will advance to the NorCal Championships which will be held May 20 at Diablo Grande Resort in Patterson.

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