Prep Golf: Par for the course

Alex Bakita, of the Gilroy boys golf team, takes a swing during practice at Eagle Ridge Monday.

GILROY—The last four years have been a roller coaster for the Gilroy Mustangs boys golf team.
When Sam Sauer took over the program in 2011, the Mustangs started their ascent. Each year after they’ve been making the grueling climb towards the top. This year, Gilroy has finally reached it—and the boys are enjoying the ride.
“Winning just creates this whole new energy that’s new for me and the team this year,” Sauer said. “We walk in feeling like the big dogs when we show up to a tournament.”
The Mustangs claimed first place at the March 17 league meet for the first time in recent history and even then, they didn’t believe it.
Senior Nick Triolo said when his team walked into the pro shop at the Pajaro Valley Golf Club, Sauer was confident it was first. Triolo, on the other hand, wasn’t so sure. But as the score was entered and the winner announced, the Mustangs erupted upon hearing they had won.
As a member of the team for his entire high school career, Triolo stuck with it through the hard times and his loyalty has paid off. He’s seen his game improve and now gets to enjoy the thrill of winning in his final season.
“The past few years we’ve gotten a couple players to help us get better and better and better, and finally this year we just have a great team,” Triolo said. “We’ve been practicing hard. The competition is good and that’s what’s keeping us motivated.”
This year’s Mustangs team features one of the league’s best golfers, Swedish foreign exchange student Magnus Myhr. He has consistently led the team by shooting in the high 30s and earned medalist honors for four consecutive weeks.
But Myhr done more than shoot low scores for his Gilroy team.
Sauer said that Myhr has stepped in as a second coach, providing instruction to his teammates and inspiring them with his work ethic. He’s rubbed off on them so much in fact that the Mustangs are staying at the course to practice on their own, hitting the green on weekends and meeting up with each other to play courses they’ll be competing at in league to familiarize themselves with it.
“I’m lovin’ it. It’s pretty fun to play as the top team,” sophomore and No. 2 golfer Avery Trevino said of this season. “Last year, we weren’t very good…This year, being first it seems like such a better season for all of us.”
Myhr isn’t the only new face on the Gilroy team either. Sauer has seen his squad grow from barely fielding a team in 2011—which caused it to be disqualified several times—to having around nine players this year. That has caused healthy intersquad competition as only the top six get to play in the tournament matches.
“We’re all definitely a team, but there’s a rivalry and we want to get better,” first-year golfer Desmon Hernandez said. “The (teams) spots jump so much and you don’t want to lose your spot in tournaments. You always want to get better and better and that keeps you going.”
Improving the teams’ game has only been half the battle. Sauer said he’s strived to help the boys with their mentality out on the golf course as well.
Often times when they have a bad hole, the boys will feel defeated and like their day is ruined, Sauer said. As the season has gone on, however, they’ve learned to shake it off .
“I try to hammer in that golf isn’t one hole,” Sauer said. “We have bad shots, we have bad holes. The good players are the ones that can overcome that and finish out well.”
Gilroy has just one match left before the Monterey Bay League finals on April 27 at The Club at Crazy Horse in Salinas. It is trying to qualify for the Central Coast Section as a team, meaning it will need to claim the No. 1 spot in the Pacific Division and beat the No.2 team from the upper Gabilan Division. But if the Mustangs are going to make that happen, Hernandez said the team must do a few simple things:
“We just need to keep on practicing and encourage each other.”