The Escalon High School varsity golf boys concluded their team play last Monday, May 8 with the Division V Section Tournament at Haggin Oaks Golf Course in Sacramento.
Putting together solid scores, the Cougar linksters were able to shoot a team score of 356, good for a third place finish.
“Considering how young we are, it was a good way for our guys to finish the season,” Coach Rusty Fachner commented. “We really have something to build on for next year. I think we saw how good we can be.”
Unfortunately, only the top team advances further into the playoffs, thus concluding the season for five of the Cougar golfers. Scoring for Escalon on the day went as follows: Nathan Sarkozy 86, Jimmy Wentzell 93, Brandon Levin 101, Danny Bava 102 and Nick Lattig 104.
Fachner had words of praise for the effort turned in by Wentzell.
“Jimmy showed these last three weeks that he can play some really good golf. What he did, going from 110 at The Tracy Invitational, to 100 at the TVL League Tournament, to 93 at Divisionals, was nothing short of amazing,” Fachner explained. “To chop off 20 strokes in three weeks means you’re pretty focused. I’m excited about what Jimmy can do for us next year. His improvement was really terrific.”
While five of the Cougar golfers ended their season, for the sixth golfer, it was a different story. It was a very good day for Escalon’s No. 1 player, senior Zack Gardner.
Shooting a two-over par 74, Gardner qualified for the prestigious Masters Tournament at the Reserve in Stockton, which was scheduled Monday, May 15 after sports press time for The Times.
Fachner could not be more pleased than he was for his captain and team leader.
“For four years this has been a dream of Zack’s ... to play in this tournament. Finally he’ll get the chance, and I couldn’t be happier. He’ll get a chance to compete with some of the finest high school golfers in Northern California. It’s a great honor that he’s earned through hard work and dedication to the game.”
Fachner also noted that at the beginning of the season, Gardner had set three goals for himself: Shoot under par, win a tournament, and qualify for Masters. He accomplished all of them, the coach noted, and added the league’s Most Outstanding Golfer Award to boot.
“In a day and age where young people are criticized for poor work habits, and not working hard enough to attain their goals, Zack was a breath of fresh air. He set the standard very high for our young golfers.” Fachner explained. “The great part is that our guys got to see what goes into excelling in a sport. I think Zack’s work ethic will really rub off on them.”
While the Masters Tournament will be difficult, Fachner thinks that Gardner stands a puncher’s chance of advancing to the Nor-Cal Tournament next week.
“Zack knows the Reserve really well. He has to go out and be aggressive. He has to realize that he’s playing with ‘house money,’ and that he can’t be overwhelmed by the moment. I just hope he’s got one more great round in him,” Fachner concluded.