The Santa Rosa Junior College men’s golf team finished last at the NorCal Tournament last Tuesday at Mayacama Golf Club.
Chabot College and San Jose City College finished first and second and will advance to the State Championship at Riverside.
Long-time Bear Cub coach Dave Herrington, who has been guiding the SRJC golf team since 1997, had this to say about his teams’ effort.
“It just wasn’t a good day, that’s all,” Herrington said. ”If you look at the scores we had, I think this was the first time since I’ve been coaching golf that we have scores so high. It was probably a combination of things. Everyone didn’t play well most likely because of a little bit of pressure, the difficulty of the course and so on. We just didn’t play well at all as far as a team.”
Herrington, who actually began coaching at SRJC in 1994 as the women’s softball coach, pointed out that it had been an all or nothing type of year for the Bear Cubs.
“Throughout the year there were 12 Big 8 Conference tournaments, and during those 12 tournaments we won three or four,” he said. “But the problem was the ones we didn’t win, it wasn’t as though we finished second once or twice, but we were always down at the bottom. So it was a little inconsistent in our play all season.”
Patrick Steiner, who played for Windsor High School two years ago, played No. 1 for the Bear Cubs this season. Tucker Williams played No. 2 and was the team captain. Both Steiner and Williams earned all-conference honors. Steiner, who averaged 75.8, shot 81-80 during the two-round NorCal on Tuesday. Williams, also a sophomore, played for Analy High School. He averaged 77.6 for the year but could manage only an 85-87.
“Both Steiner and Williams led us to the Big 8 Conference title last year and a third-place finished at State,” Herrington said.
Playing No. 3 for the Bear Cubs was Clayton Farris, who averaged 77.5. Farris is a freshman from Analy High.
“Clayton was a good kid and a lot of fun,” Herrington said. “He was also above his normal scores (93-88), but he was out there every day at practice, put in the work and the effort. That’s all you can really ask for.”
Playing No. 4 for SRJC was Taylor Battaglia, a freshman from Casa Grande High in Petaluma. Battaglia averaged 79.0 during the conference tournaments, and shot a respectable 79-85.
“Taylor started out playing great but started to slip the other way later in the year,” Herrington said. “But that happens to everyone until they gain the experience.”
No. 5 was Oliver Durra, a sophomore who red shirted a couple of years. Durra averaged 80.5 during the year but shot 88-88 in the NorCal. According to Herrington Durra is headed to Sonoma State next year.
Stephen Johnson, another freshman, played most of the year at No. 6 for the Bear Cubs before breaking his ankle. He was replaced by freshman Jonathan Morgan.
“Jonathan hadn’t been scoring as well as he did in high school, but I gave him a shot in a conference tournament at Napa’s Eagle Vines,” Herrington said. “And for the first tournament he’d ever played as far as a collegiate he shot a 1-under par 71, which was very impressive. So of course with that score he earned a shot in the NorCal tournament. That really put a lot of pressure on Jonathan and he struggled on the Mayacama course. Morgan finished with a 100-87, but that’s what experience is all about.”
Fulsom Lake College’s Nick Yell earned medalist honors shooting 74-72.
SRJC has finished third at state three or four times, according to Harrington, but the future looks bright.
“I think the strength of next year’s team should be unbelievable,” Herrington said. “I’m looking forward to that.”