by Jerry Hannula
Orange Coast College captured the Orange Empire Conference men's golf title on Monday at the one-day, 36-hole conference championship event held on Monday, April 25, at the Los Serranos Golf & Country Club in Chino Hills.
The Pirates (44-11) finished second in the morning round behind Santiago Canyon (377) by shooting a team score of 390 to wrap up the title and then put the exclamation on the title by winning the afternoon round with a team score of 395. Cypress (399) placed second in the afternoon round with Santiago Canyon (413) finishing third in a tight pack ahead of Saddleback (415) and Riverside (419).
Wind gusts over 25 miles per hour and chilly temperatures caused scores to elevate on the day. Less than one-half of the golfers broke 80 on the par-74 South Course during the sunny but windy conditions in the morning and then only five golfers broke 80 on the par-72 North Course as the winds picked up and the temperature dropped. A sudden death playoff to determine the individual qualifier to the Southern California Regional Championship was decided on the third hole by Joe Gordon of Irvine Valley as his birdie putt dropped just about the time thunderstorms rolled across the course, adding an eerie backdrop to the dramatic finish.
Orange Coast's Marcus De La Rosa was the individual medalist with a 36-hole score of 149 (77-72) while teammate Jordan Meas (77-78), Austin Trcka of Santiago Canyon (73-82), and Michael Lascari of Santiago Canyon (73-82) each carded 155's for runner-up recognition. De La Rosa was also the low medalist for the season, earning Orange Empire Conference Player of the Year honors after averaging 74.0 strokes per round through 10 rounds. He was joined on the all-conference list by Pirate teammates Austin Briggs (77.1), Connor Hurst (77.1) and Jordan Meas (77.6). Trcka (75.2) and Lascari (75.7) also made the all-conference list as the conference's Nos. 2 and 3 golfers, respectively. Santiago Canyon College teammate Ryan Mendoza (77.3) also earned all-conference honors. Dylan Hall (76.8) and Claudio Phillips (77.6) – both of Cypress College – made the all-conference team as well as Paul Bradvica (77.1) of Riverside Community College.
Trcka and Lascari both carded morning rounds of 1-under-par 73 for the only under-par rounds of the conference championship. De La Rosa shot an even-par 72 on the North Course during the afternoon round.
Orange Coast, Santiago Canyon, and Cypress will each send their teams to the Southern California Regional Championship scheduled for Monday, May 9, at the Bear Creek Golf Club course in Murrietta. Bradvica will play as an individual representing Riverside City College and Gordon - who defeated Riverside's Everett Najera on the third hole of that individual playoff - earned the other individual spot.
Top teams and individuals from the regional championship will advance to the CCCAA State Championship which will take place on Monday, May 16, at the Desert Island Golf & Country Club in Palm Springs.
Marcus De La Rosa (Orange Coast) - Player of the Year
Austin Briggs (Orange Coast)
Connor Hurst (Orange Coast)
Jordan Meas (Orange Coast)
Austin Trcka (Santiago Canyon)
Michael Lascari (Santiago Canyon)
Ryan Mendoza (Santiago Canyon)
Dylan Hall (Cypress)
Claudio Phillips (Cypress)
Paul Bradvica (Riverside)
Sean Collins (Orange Coast) - Coach of the Year