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By MICHAEL COIT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

A first-round lead in the state golf tournament evaporated during a challenging second round as Santa Rosa Junior College finished third Monday in Carmel.

Santa Rosa’s top four each shot par or better in a strong first 18 holes, giving the Bear Cubs a three-stroke lead. Playing a shorter, tighter layout in the afternoon, Santa Rosa couldn’t keep pace with the field and ended up 11 strokes behind champion College of the Canyons.

“We had it if we played our normal game. We could have walked away with some bigger hardware,” said Santa Rosa captain Nicholas Daniels, out of Windsor High School.

Making a third consecutive appearance at state, Santa Rosa was seeking the program’s first California Community College Athletic Association title. Third has been Santa Rosa’s best result.

Monday’s 36-hole tournament was played at Rancho Canada Golf Club, in Carmel. Opening on the East Course, the four-team field shot better than or near par with Santa Rosa three strokes in the lead.

The tougher West Course proved more difficult, particularly with winds picking up in the afternoon. Narrow fairways and stands of tall trees contributed to no team shooting par in the second round.

“We had some big numbers on some holes. That’s never good,” Daniels said.

Canyons, a three-time state champion, was consistent enough to hold off Orange Coast by three strokes and take home another title. Chabot finished fourth.

“The courses were completely different. But everybody had to play it,” said Santa Rosa coach Dave Herrington. “They did the best they could. I’m truly proud of the guys.”

Leading the Bear Cubs was Steven Staples with a 67 in the opening round, tied for low score. The freshman from Vacaville finished at 140, two shots below par and tied for fourth overall.

Going into state, low scorer on the team was Travis Evans, from Eureka. Evans shot 147 on Monday. Third on the day for Santa Rosa was Corey Ghiringhelli, from Casa Grande High School, with a 148.

Confident going into the tournament, Santa Rosa faced frustration as the Bear Cubs’ title hopes steadily faded during the second round.

“You just have to leave it all out on the course,” Ghiringhelli said. “But if you don’t have you’re ‘A’ game some of these courses can eat you up.”

Still, reaching state capped another strong year for Santa Rosa men’s golf. The Bear Cubs made the field after finishing second in the NorCal finals.

You can reach Staff Writer Michael Coit at 521-5470 or mike.coit@pressdemocrat.com.

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