One putt at a time
March 1, 2006
Filed under Sports
The Bakersfield College men’s golf team has played in six events since Jan. 15, the start of the spring sports season. Despite disappointing scores, Coach Larry Cook said the team is showing signs of improvement.
“[This is] the deepest group of talent I’ve ever had,” said Cook.
Cook, who is in his fifth season as coach, said that he made space for 11 golfers, instead of the usual nine because of the talent and experience. On top of playing golf every day, the team is in the process of finding a balanced combination of players to compete at each week’s event.
Even though there are 11 golfers on the team only six can compete at each event and of the six, the lowest five scores are totaled.
“I need my starters to show up, and they’re starting to do it,” Cook said.
This year’s top players include team captain Justin Pitts, a sophomore, who sat out last season. Pitts is a product of North High School and was one of the only teenagers ever to win the Kern County Amateur golf tournament.
“It’s coming around good,” Pitts said of the season and his team.
Another sophomore standout is Scott LaBare, who sat out two seasons and has returned this season. LaBare has brought a higher degree of maturity to this year’s team.
“With age comes experience,” Cook said, referring to LaBare.
Freshman Tony Denesha, a Stockdale High School graduate, has helped to bring depth to this year’s team. According to Cook, Denesha averaged 69.8 strokes in high school conference play while playing baseball as well.
Key returners from last year include MVP Mike Yates, who qualified for the Southern California Men’s Golf Championship last year, and Kyle Neal.
WSC matches, according to Cook, are basically showdowns between all teams in the conference. Unlike other sports such as tennis or baseball, which play one team at a time for conference games, the golf team doesn’t play a dual meet. Rather, they play all WSC teams each time a conference match is scheduled.
“Every match is a mini-tournament,” Cook said.
For conference matches, golfers play 18 holes. Postseason tournaments such as the Southern California Regional and State Championship are 36-hole matches.
Cook said that on top of being full-time students, the men’s golf team practices an average of four to six hours a day, sometimes eight. He also said that over half of the team has a job.