College of the Canyons posted a 36-hole team score of 743 to win the CCCAA Southern Region men's golf championship on Monday (May 9) at the Bear Creek Golf & Country Club in Murrieta.
Will Barnett led the Cougars with a 2-under-par 142 (69-73) to earn medalist honors and teammate Jason Mcguinness finished second at 145 (73-72) as Canyons stretched a 6-stroke lead in the morning round into a 17-stroke victory over Santiago Canyon College (760) with College of the Desert (765) slipping from second to third place in the afternoon. Orange Coast (773) finished in fourth place, eight strokes ahead of Palomar (781) with Cypress (789) another eight strokes back.
Canyons was able to get all five players to finish under 80 on the par-72 private course under sunny skies with light afternoon breezes. Palomar also had five players finish under 80 and improved from a morning score of 393 to 388 in the afternoon. Tyler Cress led the Comets with a 74 but his team would fail to qualify for the state championship which will be held next Monday (May 16) at the Desert Island Golf and Country Club in Palm Springs.
Santiago Canyon climbed up to second place with an afternoon score of 384 after finishing fourth in the morning rounds. The Hawks saw Michael Lascari post an even-par round of 72 in the afternoon while Austin Trcka added a 73 and College of the Desert received a pair of 74's from Ryan Emery and Mike Schaloum in the afternoon. Orange Coast's top golfer, Orange Empire Conference player of the year Marcus De La Rosa, also carded a 74 in the afternoon to help the Pirates stave off the late charge by Palomar for the fourth and final team spot at the state championship.
Trcka (72-73) finished third individually with a tournament total of 145, followed by Emery (72-74) and De La Rosa (72-74) at 146 and Lascari (75-72) in sixth place with a 147.
Barnett's 3-under-par round of 69 in the morning was the only red number posted on the day. Four players were able to shoot even par 72's in the morning round, including Ricardo Torres of Canyons, while only two players carded 72's in the afternoon.
In addition to all six players from the top four teams qualifying for the state championship, all three Santa Barbara City College golfers - Manny Manzone (77-73), Jake Ledbetter (76-75), and Neils Andersen (77-76) - also qualified for the state championship as individuals. Other individual qualifiers include Tyler Bliss (79-73) and Tyler Hoefferle (76-77) of Citrus College and Claudio Phillips (74-77) of Cypress College.