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No. 2 Servite squeaks past No. 1 Santa Margarita
RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA – For the past month, Servite’s golf team has been stuck on one number, posting 185 for seven consecutive matches.
On Tuesday, though, the No. 2 Friars finally settled on another score. And they couldn’t have picked a better time to do so, because if they would have kept their streak going they would have lost to Trinity League rival Santa Margarita.
Instead, they beat the No. 1 Eagles by one stroke, 179-180, shooting 1-under par as a team at Tijeras Creek Golf Club.
“I am not walking off of here feeling bad. I though the score was great,” Santa Margarita coach Chuck Morales said. “It takes a great team to beat us like that … when we shoot par and they beat us by one. Excellent job.”
Three players shared medalist honors. The Eagles' Troy Ditzler birdied three holes on the front nine to finish with a 2-under 34 on the Eagles' home course. Preston Valder and Michael Bonicatto carded the same score for the Friars (10-1, 5-0).
Bonicatto needed only 12 putts to medal for the first time this season in a nine-hole match.
“I just saw where it was going, and I struck it well,” Bonicatto said. “I aimed a lot of my putts up good and they were just falling. It was a good day.”
For Valder, it was the seventh time this season he posted the low score for the Friars. He had to work for this 34, twice having a very poor lie, one that could have made the match turn out dramatically different for the Friars.
He put his tee shot in the rough on the 393-yard par No. 4, leaving him with an awkward side-hill lie with his right foot balancing on the lip of a bunker. Still, he landed his approach on the green, one of the five he hit in regulation on Tuesday, and walked off with a two-putt par to remain at 1-under.
And then on the par-4 ninth, he ended up the rough again off the tee and had some tree limbs hanging in front of him. But once again, the UCLA-bound Valder came up knock the ball close, landing about 6 feet from the pin. Two putts later, he had his 34.
He dropped to 2-under par on the 200-yard par 3, No. 7 even though his 10-foot downhill putt went right over a spike mark.
“It doesn’t get any better than this (beating Santa Margarita on its home course),” Valder said. “Especially with the greens being the way that they were. They were punched, and it was tough to make putts.”
But the Friars weren’t the only ones swinging a hot putter on Tuesday. On the third hole, Beau Hossler and Tim Streufert rolled in a combined 60 feet of putts. Hossler drained his 32-footer first, letting everyone in his foursome that the ball was destined to hit the bottom of the cup as soon as it left his putter.
Streufert was almost on an identical line, only his putt was 2-feet shorter. Hossler dropped to 1-under, and Streufert got back to even.
Hossler finished with a 1-under 35, but he needed the birdie the par-4 sixth hole to get there. He couldn't get up-and-down out of the bunker on the par-3 No. 5,erasing the red number that he earned with his long-distance putt on the third hole.
Last year, the Friars lost their away match with Santa Margarita, but on that day they teed off at Dove Canyon Country Club, a course that the Friars don’t see all that often. Tijeras Creek, on the other hand, is one that Servite knows very well. The Friars won the CIF-SS Southern Team Regional there last year.
“We are comfortable here. We play it a lot, and we had had some success here, so that combination brought us more success,” Servite coach Dane Jako said.