By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN
VISALIA – It was a windy day at Valley Oak Golf Course on Thursday, April 19, for the West Yosemite League mini tournament. The 14 miles per hour gusts left Golden West in a fifth-place finish carding a 468. Carlos Carillo was low medalist for Trailblazers, carding 12 over par at 84.
“I was pretty happy with how they handled the wind considering we don’t really get a whole lot of it,” Golden West head coach Jeff Jennings said. “It got pretty difficult to manage shot shape.”
Carillo, who began his round on the first hole of the Oaks Course, kept control of his shot for the most part through the first three holes. On the par-four opening hole he split the fairway to set up a 90-yard second shot. With the wind in his face he launched a wedge shot into the air. The shot caught a gust of wind and fell into the front green side bunker. From there Carillo was able to get up and down to save his par.
The wind shifted to a left-to-right gust on the short par-four second. Carillo tried to hold a draw into the wind which came dangerously close to going into a creek bed down the left-hand side. Once again, he was faced with a less than 100-yard shot. His approach landed 10 feet away from the hole and stuck. One put later, and he was one-under par with his first birdie of the day.
However, Carillo gave the shot back on the next hold. The wind shifted back on the par-five third. The conditions called for Carillo to go after a big drive to have a decent second shot. Unfortunately, he pushed his shot out to the right. Although, he caught a break when his ball came to rest in a clearing there were still four trees to navigate in front of him. Trying to hit a low shot back toward the fairway he struck a branch on the first tree in front of him. The ball only advanced another 10 yards afterwards. It took him two shots and two puts to get down for his bogey.
“We are talking about a kid who is a freshman, and he has already come in with some pretty good golf skills,” Jennings said.
According to Jennings, Carillo shot five strokes higher than his usual score on the same course but attributed his play to the windy conditions. Most players in the field were the same number of strokes over their best scores as well.
The conditions revealed a need for the young player to focus on course management. Jennings cited Carillo’s third hole as an example of the round.
“As soon as course management becomes a habit and he doesn’t try and hit the ball as far as he can every time he is going to be very good,” Jennings said.
Also scoring well in the conditions was Chandler Saephan. He carded a 91. It is the work ethic of the junior which impresses Jennings.
With the WYL tournaments almost completed the Blazers are looking to qualify for the area tournament. Something they have not done as a team in three years. In two weeks they will compete at the qualifying tournament. They must shoot a 475 or lower at Lemoore Golf Course to make the cut. In every tournament so far this season, Golden West has hit that mark.