Golf team ends season ranked fifth

Robert Mullen, Reporter

By Robert Mullen


Bakersfield College men’s golf has wrapped up its 2013 season without putting any players into the final round of the state playoffs. The team has been ranked fifth in their conference, moving up from the seventh spot from last season.

Neil Bautista and Travis Millwee both nearly made it to the final round, with Millwee losing due to one stroke. “Overall, we made some improvement over last year,” said head coach Bill Kalivas. “Last year’s team was extremely young, almost all freshmen, and I think they had a difficult time adjusting to college golf, with the type of competitions and venues that were more difficult than they were used to playing. Of the majority of last year’s freshmen only three returned, and they seemed to be our stabilizing factor this year.”

Kalivas credits some of the improvement to his returning players.

“They maintained a very steady pace in terms of their play, their leadership qualities, and their ability to understand what it took to be successful,” said Kalivas referring to sophomores Bautista, Millwee, and Kevin Antongiovanni. Bautista had an average of 76, Millwee had a 77, and Antongiovanni had an 86.

Freshman players Paul Cooper shot an 82, Jake Jocobus an 80, and P.J. Carmichael an 89. While Kalivas says the season was underwhelming he notes that a big part of it is helping the athletes out for the future.

“I think our most important focus is allowing our athletes to extend their athletic career, and guide them so that academically they can transfer,” Kalivas said.

All three sophomore players will be transferring to four-year universities to continue their golf careers. Part of the reason the team has struggled both this season and the last is due to the nature of the environment the golf team plays in, says Kalivas.

“If you look at the demographics of our community, there aren’t a lot of country club kids,” he said. “Our courses are still extremely nice courses and still challenging enough, but the difference here is that land is not as much as a premium as it is in Los Angeles, or in Ventura, or Santa Barbara.

“Consequently the golf courses in those areas are much narrower, much more challenging and much more unforgiving, so if you’re offline on any of those courses you pay a heavy price in terms of penalty strokes. Here, even though there is some difficulty, you can scramble and escape and still score well enough to be respectable.”

Other junior colleges in the south have much more difficult courses, says Kalivas, and this puts BC at a distinct disadvantage within the conference because BC players don’t readily have access to these types of courses. “We can’t just run down there and practice,” says Kalivas. “Everything is two or three hours away.”