All-Empire boys golf: Montgomery’s Rogers the clear choice for Player of the Year

By RICHARD J. MARCUS
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Montgomery golfer Nick Rogers (Photo by Christopher Chung, The Press Democrat)

Montgomery golfer Nick Rogers (Photo by Christopher Chung, The Press Democrat)

Things didn’t go as planned for Montgomery golf prodigy Nick Rogers during his senior season, but the mild-mannered Rogers seems to take it all in stride.

“My game wasn’t quite clicking the way I needed it to this season,” Rogers said. “I have to keep working on my swing and my consistency.”

Rogers — who has dominated boys golf in the Redwood Empire and led the Montgomery boys team to four consecutive North Bay League (NBL) titles — will work on his game at Santa Rosa Junior College in the fall rather than head directly to a four-year university.

“I was talking to a few four-year colleges, but I felt more comfortable staying home. I didn’t know what major I wanted to be and I wanted to fine-tune my game,” said Rogers, who is a triplet along with brother Bobby and sister Jackie. “I want to play at a Division I school and a scholarship would help. I’m not sure which school, another reason why I choose the JC.”

At 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, Rogers has an average drive of approximately 280 yards. He said he is working on his upper body and core strength and striving to raise his driving distance to PGA-worthy 300 yards. Rogers said he has a goal to eventually become a professional golfer.

I’ve always wanted to play professionally,” Rogers said. “After college I will look at where my game is at and make a decision after that but that is a few years away.”

Rogers’ pedigree includes being voted the NBL boys’ golf player of the year four seasons in a row, in addition to being named the All-Empire boys’ golf Player of the Year three consecutive seasons by The Press Democrat.

Multiple NBL boys’ golf coaches said there is no doubt that Rogers has the ability to play golf for a big-time college golf program.

“I have known guys that went to SRJC and then transfer to four-year schools,” Maria Carrillo boys golf coach Zach Christ said. “I do think Nick can play at the next level. He is one of those guys that can go low and shot below par and that is rare at the high school level.”

Said Casa Grande boys’ golf coach Phil Emswiler: “Nick is just a natural. He doesn’t get overly excited. He just goes out there and gets the job done. He makes it look easy. He has got the full game.”

There is no doubt that Rogers had a “down” year compared to his junior campaign. Last season he averaged one stroke above par in league play, this season 2.5 strokes above par average. At this season’s North Coast Section Tournament of Champions, he shot a disappointing 76 and did not qualify for the NorCal championships. Rogers won the NCS last season with a 65 and qualified for NorCal, where he finished in the middle of the pack.

“Nick never got on track like last year,” said Montgomery coach Jess Stimack. “The course at the NCS (Peacock Gap in San Rafael) was there to be had. Nick was just lost out there — he couldn’t tie it all together.

“Nick is a great kid. He is very humble, always smiling. I feel terrible that he didn’t have a better year this year than last.”

Rogers said early in the league season he tried to correct two mechanical errors (not keeping his body square and moving his head) at the same time, but didn’t completely fix either one for an extended period.

“I got in a few bad habits with my swing and it took a couple of month to correct,” Rogers said. “I just tried to do too much at once instead of focusing on fixing one thing at a time.”

Despite Rogers’ drop-off, he was still unanimously named the boys Redwood Empire golfer of the year by the 10 Redwood Empire boys’ golf coaches polled for this article.

Ukiah’s first-year boys’ golf coach Dominic Brutocao was a senior when Rogers was a freshman three years ago when they played in a league meet.

“Nick was lights out. He was by the best player in the league,” Brutocao said. “He has a good head on his shoulders and that is something that is overlooked in golf.”

“Without a doubt Nick was the best player in the Redwood Empire again this year but he was not the player he wanted to be,” Stimack said. “He will get through this no doubt. He has got too much talent to stay where he is right now. He has a very bright future.”

Rogers concurred, saying in a modest tone: “I didn’t have a very good year and I’m still kind of bummed about it, but there is a lot of golf left for me.”

ALL-EMPIRE TEAM

PLAYER OF THE YEAR


Nick Rogers
, senior, Montgomery

FIRST TEAM


Luke McLaughlin, 
senior, Montgomery

Eric Bolander
, freshman, Cardinal Newman

Michael Danielski, 
junior, Maria Carrillo

Ryan Garfield, 
senior, Casa Grande

Keaton Kithcart, 
junior, El Molino

SECOND TEAM


Brandon Bone
, junior, Cardinal Newman

Kousuke Tominaga, 
senior, Montgomery

Kevin Parry
, senior, Cardinal Newman

Will Crain
, junior, Casa Grande

Alex Wood
, senior, Healdsburg

THIRD TEAM


Edgar Escobar
, senior, Rancho Cotate

Jack Benson
, junior, Maria Carrillo

Jordan Grebe
, senior, Maria Carrillo

Blake Kessler
, junior, Ukiah

Cutter Dittman, 
junior, El Molino

COACH OF THE YEAR


Jess Stimack, Montgomery

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