Men’s Golf Gears up for Team Championship

Derek Stowe

The fourth season of the men’s golf program, which began in January, has given its one returning sophomore and seven freshmen something big to strive for – seizing Glendale’s first golf team championship.

Golf Coach Greg Osbourne said this hand-picked group of Vaqueros may be good enough to be the first to make it to the regionals as a team – and who knows? Even the state finals are not out of the question for this talented young team.

“This team is much, much better than last year because every year we get better recruits and better players,” said Osbourne.

Last year’s team ended up fourth in the league and had two players go to all-conference.

All-conference or All-Western State Conference refers to the 14 LA-area schools that are members of the California Community College Athletic Association.

This year’s team was recently tied for second in the league and is predicted to have at least three players go to all-conference.

The 2011 Vaquero team is led by sophomore Brennan Amirkhizi from Taft High School in Woodland Hills. He made all-conference and went to the regionals last year.

The rest of the team consists of the top-ranked golfers: Chris Ramirez and twins Aaron and Danny Fernandez from Cleveland High in Reseda, Gin Park from Burbank High, Michael Timpson from Crescenta Valley High, Vincent Lamb from Temple City High, and Phillip Gonzalez from Verdugo Hills High in Tujunga.

Because Glendale is now the only community college with a golf team in the greater L.A. area, it represents a huge demographic.

“The best players in the area are now coming to Glendale because our program is so good,” said Osbourne. “We have a great program because of where we get to play and who we get to play against.”

GCC has privileged access to two private country clubs thanks to Osbourne’s connections there. He has close ties to Oakmont Country Club management and is now the head golf professional at Chevy Chase Country Club.

On March 7, the Vaqueros got to compete with seven other teams in a Western State Conference tournament at Santa Maria Country Club. The Vaqs finished just 13 strokes behind the winning team, College of the Canyons (380).
Hancock (382) took second, Bakersfield (383) third, Ventura (389) fourth, Glendale (393) fifth, Citrus (416) sixth, and Santa Barbara (417) last.

According to Osbourne, windy conditions and the fact that the Vaqs were less familiar with the Santa Maria course led to Glendale’s fifth place finish.

Glendale is now tied for third in the league with Ventura College but should be surpassing second place Hancock and closing in on first place College of the Canyons soon because of the young Vaqueros’ perseverance and enthusiasm, said Osbourne.

No. 1 player Amirkhizi, standing 6 foot 2 inches, scored a 74, which put him in third place overall. His best score ever of a 63 tied him with the Encino Golf Course 2009 record.
“Golf is pretty much my number one priority in life besides school and family,” said a determined Amirkhizi. “I think, sleep and eat golf.”

Osbourne said, “Amirkhizi’s short game is phenomenal. He’s one of the best I’ve seen putting, and if he can keep his cool, and not get too aggressive with his long game, he could go all the way [to the state championships].”

The next best Vaquero scorers included Danny Fernandez who shot a 79, and Michael Timpson, Jin Park and Chris Ramirez who all shot 80s.
Fernandez said he has learned from Osbourne to keep his chin up no matter what because golf can change in an instant.

“Our coach does a really good job of instilling a family-like mentality. Everyone on the team is like a brother to me,” he said.

Timpson, whose father played with Osbourne in college said, “Coach’s best advice is to master your pre-shot routine and to dig down deep and finish strong.”

A golfer’s pre-shot routine is the ritual of calculations and body positioning he takes before making each shot. It varies depending on the terrain and the golf ball’s location.

By practicing one’s pre-shot routine over and over, day-in day-out, a golfer’s body remembers what to do even if his mind is distracted by life situations or the pressures of competition.

Timpson, who once shot a 66 at Angeles National Golf Club, said he loves “being in pressure situations where it all comes down to the last couple of holes or even a shot.”?

All in all, the outlook for this year’s team is exceptionally good, said Osbourne.

To make it to the state championships, the team must come in first or second in the league and then place first or second at the regionals.
The Vaqueros host the GCC invitational at Alhambra Golf Course today at noon.

Glendale’s next conference match will be at San Dimas Golf Course on March 28.