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Up Swing

Golf February 13, 2012 johnwooton 0

By CHACE BRYSON | Editor   At this point, it’s gotten ridiculous.  Over the past three seasons, the Foothill High boys golf team has been...



At this point, it’s gotten ridiculous. 

Over the past three seasons, the Foothill High boys golf team has been as consistently good “” scratch that, dominant “” as any high school sports program in Northern California. That goes for any sport.

After their most recent sweep of the North Coast Section Tournament of Champions and  the California Interscholastic Federation/Northern California Golf Association NorCal Championships, the Falcons deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Bishop O’Dowd girls basketball, Campolindo boys swimming, De La Salle soccer and any other program in the midst of an extended championship run. 

Only, one might contend that what Foothill golf is doing may be even more impressive. This is golf, remember? This is the sport that never fails to humble even its greatest competitors from time to time. Taking it a step further, it’s a team sport that is incredibly reliable on each individual’s performance apart from his teammates.

“Golf has alway been an individual sport,” senior Travis Rowney said. “This team has bonded so well because we have six really good golfers on this team. We know if we just play our normal round we’ll win nearly every time. So we try to keep each other up, because our decent rounds are all the same. We all have the same kind of potential.”

That potential has been on full display since mid-May when the Falcons surprised no one by cruising to their third NCS Tournament of Champions crown. 

As if the Falcons talent wasn’t already enough, their home course of Castlewood Country Club was the host site for the NCS TOC “” and not surprisingly, they made things look easy. Brett Thawley and Tanner Hughes both played 1-under par, Nicolo Galletti shot even par, Roshan Chekhuri shot 2-over and Rowney shot 4-over for a five-man score of 354. 

Dublin would finish second “” 29 strokes behind. 

One week later, on May 21, the Falcons were just as good. Galletti led the way with a 3-under 69, and no Foothill player shot high than 4-over as they rolled to a team score of 365 at Butte Creek Country Club in Chico. The score was just good enough to edge Robert Louis Stevenson-Pebble Beach (366) for the Falcons’ second NorCal title in three years. 

“We sort of knew we had a good scores going because we had all played behind each other,” Rowney said of the time he and his teammates spent waiting as the final scores trickled in at Butte Creek. “We kind of knew what kind of scores we were shooting, and felt that the only team we really had to worry about was Robert Louis Stevenson. We knew they matched up well with us.”

In a strange twist, it was the second consecutive year the CIF and NCGA used the Chico course for the event. That seemingly gave Foothill and other qualifiers from a year ago at least a minor advantage over the new teams and individuals in the field. 

“The course looked exactly the same,” Rowney said. “I don’t think anything changed, and it did provide a bit of an advantage. We knew where to hit them and where to miss them. The greens might have been a little harder than last year.”

 The win qualified Foothill for its third straight trip to the CIF State Championship Tournament on June 6. Southern California plays host to the event his year with San Gabriel Country Club providing the course. 

It’s an unfamiliar track to Rowney and his teammates, but they will carry the advantage of having been to each of the last two state tournaments. Foothill finished fifth out of six teams in 2010, and climbed two spots a year ago to grab a third place finish. 

If there is any team poised to bring Northern California its first state golf title since De La Salle won in 2006, it would seem the Falcons are the best candidate since. 

“Just play it like a normal tournament,” Rowney said when asked what the team’s approach would be its third time through. “We understand it’s the state championship. But we can’t go into that tournament thinking it’s anything different than what we’ve been playing. It’s all about understanding the situation and understanding the point you’re at and the level of your competition. If you play your game, there’s nothing you need to worry about.”

Lost in the dominance of Foothill’s postseason were a couple of the other good stories. 

Dublin’s performance at the NCS Tournament of Champions, while finishing a distant second to the Falcons, was still a breakthrough performance for the Gaels. 

“For the last four years we’ve been knocking on the door with players like Taylor Bromley and Joe Furtado who are our seniors,” coach Jim Collins said. “We’ve been close, and finally we made it. It’s been a long time for Dublin.”

For Bromley and Furtado, the win was especially rewarding. During their four years with the program, they helped lead the Gaels to a 46-2 record in Diablo Foothill Athletic League play and undefeated marks in each of the last two years. 

“It feels great,” Furtado said. “We finally got the monkey off our back.” 

San Ramon Valley golfer Cody Blick, who has had solid seasons over each of the last two years qualified for his first state tournament by posting a 1-under par 71 at Butte Creek. The score was six strokes better than his finish at the same course the year before.


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