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Mater Dei, Santa Margarita qualify for Southern Section championship
LA VERNE – Three teams from the Trinity League had to play their CIF-SS team regional at a new course this season, and the qualifying event proved to be a bit more nerve racking than in the past.
Instead of stressing over winning the tournament, for a while, Santa Margarita, Servite and Mater Dei all had doubts about making it out of Sierra La Verne Country Club to the next round.
And one of the Trinity League teams, the one which entered the event as the defending Southern Section champions, didn’t make the cut.
With all six players on the roster posting a score in the 70s on Monday, Mater Dei finished second in the Western Regional carding a 369, which put the Monarchs four-shots behind first place Diamond Bar. The Brahmas were the only team to have two players come in under par as Dean Sakata shot a 2-under 69 and Jason Chen followed with a 1-under 70.
Santa Margarita junior Beau Hossler posted the low round of the day, a 4-under 67, and the Eagles earned the third and final qualifying spot for Thursday’s CIF-SS Team Championship at Rancho San Marcos Golf Course in Santa Barbara, carding a 381.
Servite, which won its third consecutive Southern Section championship in 2011, finished six shots behind Santa Margarita in fourth and did not qualify for the next round.
After dominating the Southern Team Regional at Tijeras Creek Golf Club in Rancho Santa Margarita, CIF officials moved the Trinity League teams to Sierra La Verne this season. It was not uncommon for the Trinity League to finish 1-2-3 at Tijeras Creek.
Even though his team had just one practice round to prepare for Monday’s Tournament, Santa Margarita coach Chuck Morales didn’t want to use the change of venue as an excuse for why the Eagles - a team that cruised to the title at the prestigious Champions Invitational in Indio this season - ended up being the third and final team to make it to the section championship tournament.
“We have to show up and play. I thought we were going to be moved last year, so I can’t say that we played bad because they moved us,” Morales said. “In another couple years, they will move us again. We did enough to make it through, and that is all you want to do. Survive.”
The Friars had to throw out a 76 after Davis Holman got disqualified for taking relief from a fence which protected nearby homes from stray balls on the par-5 17th.
Hossler’s tee shot landed behind the obstruction, too, and he asked for a rules official to see if he was indeed entitled to relief. He was told there were none on the course, so Hossler just played it as it lied, and he took a bogey six. Holman birdied the hole.
“It’s unfortunate that I can get more rules officials at my tournament (the Servite Tournament at Western Hills) than you can at a CIF venue,” Servite coach Dane Jako said. “Davis is one of the better kids, so it’s unfortunate. It was a new course that we only played on time. It was unfamiliar terrain, and that made it hard.”
Not just the three newcomers struggled on the course, though, as there were more than a few 90s on the scoreboard on Monday.
Camden Price, who led the Monarchs with a 1-over 72, said the greens were difficult to read because it was hard to tell which way the grain was going.
“I missed a number of short putts for birdie. It was tough,” Price said. “We wanted to win, but it definitely feels great to make it out of here, so we will take second place.”
The Monarchs are heading up to Santa Barbara on Wednesday to play a practice round at Rancho San Marcos, and Price said that a team as deep as the Monarchs should be able to contend for a victory there.
“We have a lot of guys that can shoot par or under par, so nobody has to feel like they have to be the one to do it,” Mater Dei coach Ollie Martin said. “Our depth showed in the results today that guys can all contribute to the outcome of it.”
At Sierra La Verne Country Club, par 71, La Verne
Top three teams transfer to the CIF-SS Championship at Rancho San Marcos in Santa Barbara
1. Diamond Bar 365; 2. Mater Dei 369; 3. Santa Margarita 381; 4. Servite 387