The Wolverines gave that 110 percent anyway, posting four of the event’s five best scores and claiming the victory. Senior Jaskaran Sihota, whose 74 was the third best score of the tournament, was good enough to wrap up the league’s MVP title. Senior Adam Sunga’s stellar round of 71 was the day’s best, while senior teammate Robert Riel shot 73. In total, the Wolverines’ five counted scores totaled 384.
“Obviously I shot well today,” Sunga said. “I made a few birdies; my putting was on today. Our team has good chances to win. We’re playing well – all around par or in the 70s.”
The day’s most suspenseful race was the fight for second place, in which Heritage edged Liberty 410-414. The Patriots benefited from the standard scoring, which allows each team to drop its lowest score. Had the teams fielded all six scores, the Lions would have won.
Heritage’s best players that day weren’t their normal top guns, but junior Justin Barnes (76) and sophomore Ryan Volta (80). Going into the event, Volta was the team’s No. 4 player, and Barnes No. 5.
According to Barnes, head coach Mark Tinder’s advice is what inspired him to go low. “I was just playing,” Barnes said. “My coach told me not to think when I play, and that’s what I did. I just didn’t think. My short game was saving me. I wasn’t making the long putts that I needed, but I did make the short par putts.”
The next step for Heritage is the NCS Qualifier on Monday in Monarch Bay as the Patriots attempt to join Deer Valley at the Tournament of Champions. The Lions, their sights set on an at-large bid, is the only other BVAL team with a chance of qualifying.
If Liberty doesn’t qualify as a team, Lions Connor Vis and Jake Hernandez will move on as individuals. Joining them will be Antioch’s Brandon Lee, who shot an 81 at the Roddy Ranch event. If Liberty does earn the at-large bid, Pittsburg’s Dan Colin and Kevin Labao will advance to the NCS Qualifier as individuals.
Hot on the heels of Deer Valley, Heritage and Liberty was Pittsburg, which placed fourth with a score of 488, followed by Antioch at 495. Freedom rounded out the tournament with a 520.
Following the NCS qualifier, the qualifying teams and players will join Deer Valley at the Tournament of Champions at Castlewood Country Club in Pleasanton. A total of 20 teams will participate in that event, but only three will advance to the Nor Cal Championship the following week. Wolverines head coach Brian Kofford has a pretty good idea of what it will take to be one of those top three teams.
“You need everybody in the 70s,” Kofford said. “Today, we shot a 384, which is a good round, but we had to take an 87. Anytime you have to take an 87 or really anything over 80, you don’t have a chance. If everybody is in the 70s, you have a chance. You’ve got to break the 380 barrier.”