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Golfers Maintain Hold On First Place
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Escalon High School Golf Coach Rusty Fachner often stresses to his players that every stroke is important. This was never truer than a little over two weeks ago when the Cougar linksters took on Modesto Christian at Modesto Municipal Golf Course. In losing to MC, 205 to 206, Escalon shot one of its best team scores of the season. However, the Crusaders shot their best round of the season and squeezed by with the one shot victory. Despite the tough loss, Fachner felt that there were some positive things that came out of the contest.

"First, each of the players was able to re-examine his game and realize that each of them had given away one, maybe two strokes during the round that would have made the difference between victory and defeat. Second, I think we were becoming a little too complacent in our approach to matches.

When you lose close matches, like this one, you have a tendency to re-focus," Fachner explained. "Over the long haul, this loss may have been good for us. We'll see how the guys react. We played well. They just played one stroke better."

For the match, Matt Jones led the Cougars with a 39. He was followed by Adam Zolezzi's 41 and 42's by Donovan Gardner, Kris Mayfield and Austen Cardoza.

It didn't take Fachner long to find out how his team was going to react as they matched up the following Thursday for a crucial Trans-Valley League match against Ripon at Spring Creek Country Club. And if re-focusing was the key, the Escalon golfers definitely "re-focused."

Riding Austen Cardoza's sparkling 39, the Cougars beat the Indians 212-221 to move to 4-1 in league play.

"The effort was huge and the team really responded. Ripon plays so well at home and can put up some very good numbers.

They have excellent golfers. We just applied pressure to them all day long," noted Fachner. "Austen played so well. He was under control the whole round. I'm very proud of the improvement he's made. He really gives our team another player who can go low at any given time. As for the team, we're back in first place. Now we have to stay there."

Once again the consistency and depth of the Escalon team was evident as Zolezzi, Gardner and Jones all shot identical 43's. They were followed by Kris Mayfield and Jeromy Jimenez who carded 44's.

"I was very proud of Kris and Jeromy," Fachner added. "They started out rough and then proceeded to grind through the round. Those 44's could have been much higher without the resolve of both of those guys. I'm proud of the fact that they hung in there."

The Cougars also recently made up a non-league match against Calaveras that was rained out earlier in the year. Escalon put forth another solid team effort in beating the Redskins at La Contenta GC by the score of 198-218.

"198 is one heck of a team score at La Contenta," Fachner stated. "Anytime you can go sub-200 on that course, you've done a tremendous job."

In moving their overall record to 9-2 on the season, Escalon was led once again by Cardoza who shot a team-leading 38. He was matched on the day by Jimenez who also shot a 38. Zolezzi finished with a 39, Jones added a 41 and Gardner checked in with a 42.

"It was a solid effort. Calaveras is the second place team in the Mother Lode League, so beating them at their course is tough to do."

The Cougar linksters played in the Mid-Season League tournament at Diablo Grande GC on April 13. Results were not available at press time, but the Mid-Season Tournament is key to the Cougars' title hopes.

"We need to play very well in the tournament and put pressure on the other teams," Fachner commented. "Last year, when we won the tournament, it really set us up for the championship. We can try and downplay it all we want, but the team knows how big it is."