Performing under pressure

Senior Brian Calimpong chips from the rough on the seventh green

GHS golfers come through in final T-CAL meet with clutch 163
team score
GILROY – The pressure was on the Gilroy High boys golf team as it hosted Thursday’s final T-CAL tri-meet at Eagle Ridge Golf Course with both Live Oak and Salinas.

With a little help from neighboring rival Live Oak – which finished in second-place with a 173 combined score ahead of Salinas (176) – the Mustangs moved into third place in the league standings by placing first with a 163 combined score.

“Live Oak came through today – beating Salinas surely helped us out. Now we have a 1/2 point lead on them for third-place,” Gilroy head coach Eric Kuwada said. “We still need to beat (Salinas) in league finals on April 29 at Quail Lodge. If they place higher than us, we will lose third-place.”

Junior Ryan Dinsmore scored a team-low 39 to pace the Mustangs at the challenging Eagle Ridge Golf Course.

“This was one of my better scores this year. I’ve been hitting the ball pretty decent all year, but I haven’t been scoring,” said Dinsmore, after completing his round. “It’s better that (my best scores) come towards the end of the year.”

Gilroy – which is still vying for an at-large bid into the CCS Playoffs – also received a strong showing from senior Brian Calimpong, who came into the clubhouse with his team’s second-lowest round of 40.

“I played pretty well. I made two birdies in the middle of the round and then finished double. But I finally have been playing solid and stopped making all those doubles and making mental errors,” Calimpong said. “It’s something different every day (at Eagle Ridge). We’ve played here probably three years straight now and we still don’t ever know really what to do.”

Senior Chad Brownfield – who reached the CCS Finals last year in his stellar junior campaign – turned in a 41 to round out Gilroy’s top-three scores.

“I didn’t play that bad. I just didn’t play that good,” Brownfield said. “I’ve been playing terrible lately. I’m not practicing as much. (But) We’re still in it. Hopefully, we can pull it out. If we win today, we’ll be in good shape. If we lose, we’re pretty much out of it.”

The Mustangs got the job done as junior Thomas Hoshida shot a 43, senior Ale Rodriguez finished with a 44, and junior John Gurich scored a 46.

“We finally played well and scored the way I always thought we could. I guess we respond to the pressure of having to do well,” said Kuwada of his golfers. “They knew what was at stake today and played like they needed to. Only if we played like this conviction all season, we would be contending for the league title.”

Palma and Hollister are the front-runners for the first-ever T-CAL league championship – but an at-large CCS bid is still not out of Gilroy’s grasp.

“So we are back in it and it’s up to them at league finals. We are plenty capable of doing it,” Kuwada said. “Now, it’s a matter of getting the job done. We have two weeks of 18-hole tournament play to get in shape and work on their games.”

Gilroy has scheduled tournament dates April 14 in the Atwater Invite at Stevinson Ranch, April 21 in the Aptos Tournament at Aptos Seascape, and April 22 in the Monterey HS Invite at Rancho Canada.

“If we win one of those, we could get a bid just because of that. We need to play well in these next two weeks and coach said that he planned it that way so we get some 18-hole experience,” Calimpong said. “If we finish strong and show them that we’re playing well and we’d be a good pick then we’d probably get in.”

Last season, the Mustangs reached the CCS Finals and finished in fifth place – five strokes back from advancing the NorCal Championships.

“It’s pretty much up to the league finals. If we play like this, I’m sure we deserve a spot. It depends how much we all want it,” Dinsmore said. “We definitely want to get back to CCS and see how we do.”

In Tuesday’s T-CAL tri-meet at Ridgemark against both Hollister and North Salinas, the Mustangs finished in second place with a combined score of 167 behind the first-place Haybalers (156) and ahead of the third-place Vikings (169).

Calimpong caught fire on the course – medaling with a tournament-low of 37 tied with Hollister’s Ian Hudson. The Gilroy line-up was rounded out by Dinsmore (43), Gurich (43), Rodriguez (44), Brownfield (44) and junior Daniel Perry (50).

GHS GOLF FUNDRAISER NEEDS HELP: The Gilroy golf team is still looking for players/tee sponsors/donations for its fundraising tournament May 3 at Gilroy Golf Course with a 1p.m. tee-time. Tee sponsors values are $50 and $100. The Mustangs are also looking for items for our raffle at the tournament. Anyone interested, should contact Eric Kuwada at 847-2424 xt. 8587 or Athletic Director Jack Daley at 848-7178. Kuwada can also be reached by e-mail at [email protected]