By Jerry Hannula
GOLETA – Cypress College captured its first men’s golf state title in school history on Monday as the Chargers led from start to finish at the CCCAA State Championship being played on the picturesque Sandpiper Golf Club course.
Cypress took a 15 stroke lead following the morning round and turned it into an 18 stroke win as the Chargers ran away from the field on a sunny but breezy day along the Central Coast.
“We had a little something to prove this year,” said Cypress head coach Dana Bedard. “People didn’t really remember us from last year so we didn’t want to come in second again.”
The Chargers, who finished second at last year’s state championship to College of the Canyons, turned the tables this year. Cypress posted a 36-hole team score of 736 (362-374) to easily get past College of the Canyons at 754 (381-373) while Orange Coast College (378-382) won a tiebreaker over Reedley College (380-380) when both teams finished the day with a team score of 760.
“It took a total team effort to win this thing. It’s been a long time coming,” Bedard added, wrapping up his 19th season on a high note.
Cypress was one of only two teams entered in the state championship which had never captured the title. Sierra College of Rocklin was the other team. The Wolverines placed eighth with a team score of 811.
After the morning rounds, Cypress held a 16-stroke lead over Orange Coast College, an 18-stroke lead over Reedley and Chabot colleges, and a 19-stroke lead over Canyons. Sophomores George Bris and Matt Rafter sparked the morning surge as Bris carded a 3-under-par 69 and Rafter added a 2-under-par 70. The afternoon winds created some concerns among the coaches, but Andrew Thomson posted an even-par 72 in the afternoon with Rafter adding a 73.
College of the Canyons tried to make a comeback as Clay Kucera shot a 73 in the afternoon with Jones Comerford adding a 74 and both Corey Haase and Michael Lingren adding 75’s. Orange Coast’s team score was saved when Taka Inoue came in at 1-under-par 71. Reedley’s Adam Nelson led the Tigers with an even-par 72 in the afternoon.
Reedley’s Nelson (141) would capture individual state medalist honors as he posted a 69 in the morning round before the even-par afternoon round. Cypress’ Rafter would earn individual runner-up honors with a 143 total while teammates Bris (144) and Thomson (146) would finish third and fourth, respectively. Denis Kakimoto of Ventura would win a tie-breaker in a card-off over Canyon’s Kucera for fifth place when they both ended up with 147’s. Kakimoto posted rounds of 72 and 75 while Kucera had rounds of 74 and 73. These top six medalists each earned all-state honors.
Adam Nelson, Reedley College - 141
Matt Rafter, Cypress College - 143
George Bris, Cypress College - 144
Andrew Thomson, Cypress College - 146
Denis Kakimoto, Ventura College - 147
Clay Kucera, College of the Canyons - 147