Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - April 26, 2013

Menlo, Palo Alto boys ace their league seasons

by Keith Peters

Perfection was the rule of the day for the Menlo School and Palo Alto boys' golf teams as each wrapped up their respective dual-match league titles with perfect records on Wednesday.

At Palo Alto Hills Golf & Country Club, Menlo improved to 10-0 in the West Bay Athletic League with a 198-201 triumph over runner-up Sacred Heart Prep.

In San Jose, Palo Alto finished 11-0 after posting a season-low round of 184 at Coyote Creek to defeat runner-up Gunn (200).

Menlo earned its third consecutive WBAL championship after posting its second undefeated season in the past three years. The Knights next will represent the league in the CCS Regional II Tournament on May 8 at Rancho Canada (West) in Carmel Valley.

Sacred Heart Prep (8-2) can advance to the CCS Regional I Tournament on May 7 at Rancho Canada (West) with the league's second automatic berth by winning Tuesday's 18-hole WBAL Tournament at Half Moon Bay's Old Course.

Menlo coach Dave Buchanan said his team's commitment to golf over the summer, and during the fall by most of the team members, has made "a dramatic impact" on a team that had quite a few spots to fill after graduating four seniors from last year's team.

Senior co-captains Max Garnick and Andrew Buchanan again led the Knights to victory in their final WBAL match.

Buchanan was co-medalist with SHP's Bradley Knox as both shot even-par 35. Buchanan closed out a perfect season for him as he was never beaten in the WBAL regular season. His final match was memorable as he ripped a 358-yard drive on the downhill, 383-yard par-4 third hole that reached the green came to rest just 25 feet from the hole. He made birdie there and added another on the 480-yard, par-5 seventh.

Garnick shot 39 but got off to a slow start and was 4-over after four holes. He remained confident and finished even par for the last five holes. Garnick birdied the tough closing hole to seal a lead from the first tee group.

Menlo freshman William Hsieh also shot 39, which included an eagle on the third hole. Hsieh drove the ball to the right side of the fairway and had 140 yards in to the green. His 8-iron approach shot hit short of the green bounced up toward the hole and then rolled in for the eagle.

Jeff Herr added a 42 and Riley Burgess shot 43 to round out the Knights' scoring.

While Menlo will lose more key players after this season, Dave Buchanan says he has stockpiled some players for next year — like juniors Carter Burgess and Jordan Stone plus sophomore Teddy Breyer, who missed much of the season to injury.

Meanwhile, Sacred Heart Prep's Taylor Oliver had two birdies but offset that with four bogeys to leave him with a 2-over 37. Teammate Derek Ackerman shot 41, Willy Lamb 42 and Bradley Keller a 46.

The best team effort of the day came in the Palo Alto-Gunn match as the Vikings had all five scorers within three shots of par.

Grant Raffel fired an even-par 35 to tie Gunn's Avinash Sharma for medalist honors.

Palo Alto also got a 36 from Patrick Fuery, a 37 from Alex Hwang while Michelle Xie and John Knowles each shot 3-over 38 to wrap up the winning performance.

Herbert Sadler-Wong shot 40 for Gunn while Zack Tevanian shot 41, Curran Sinha a 42 and Jack Jaffe a 42.

Paly and Gunn will return to Coyote Creek on Monday for the first day of the SCVAL Tournament. The teams will wrap up Wednesday at San Juan Oaks in Hollister. Gunn can earn the league's second automatic berth into the CCS Tournament by taking the two-day event.

On Tuesday, Menlo set the stage for its showdown for first place with a 197-212 victory over Harker at Palo Alto Municipal.

Menlo was led by Buchanan, who shared medalist honors with Harker's Maverick McNealy. Both shot even-par 36. Buchanan is headed to SMU while McNealy will play at Stanford next season. Buchanan birdied the first hole but bogeyed the second before shooting par on the remaining seven holes.

Garnick and Burgess each shot 38. Garnick got off to a rough start with five straight bogeys, but registered birdies on No. 6, 7 and 8 to turn things around as he made consecutive putts from 10, 13 and 40 feet. Unfortunately for Garnick, his five-foot birdie putt on No. 9 lipped out.

Burgess made an 18-footer for birdie on the par-3 eighth hole and he reached the par-5 ninth hole in two when his hybrid 5 from 255 yards out found the back of the green. Menlo's scoring was rounded out by William Hsieh's 42 and Ethan Wong's 43. Wong found the fairway on his first two holes, but lost balls down gopher holes.

Sacred Heart Prep set the stage for a showdown for first place in the WBAL following a 202-249 victory over King's Academy at Sharon Heights Golf & Country Club on Monday.

Knox set the pace against King's with a 1-under 35 as he made two birdies and just one bogey. Ackerman shot 39 for the Gators with Lamb (42), Keller (42) and Kevin Donahoe (44) rounding out the scoring.

In the SCVAL De Anza Division, Sharma fired an even-par 35 and Cheng was just two strokes back as Gunn registered a 195-211 victory over host Homestead at Sunnyvale Muni on Monday. The Titans also got a 38 from Sadler-Wong while Shai Mohan shot 41 and Sinha carded a 44.

Senior Matt Tinyo earned medalist honors with a 1-over 37 to pace Menlo-Atherton to a 213-255 victory over Aragon in PAL Bay Division action Monday at Sharon Heights Golf & Country Club.

The Bears still have the PAL Tournament next week, another qualifying event for CCS. The two regional tourneys will send the top qualifiers to the CCS Championships on May 14, also at Rancho Canada (West).

The NorCal Championships will be held at Diablo Grande Resort GC (Ranch Course) in Patterson on May 20, with the CIF State Championships set for Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley on June 5.

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