Vaqueros Place Second in Golf Invitational

Derek Stowe

Glendale’s second annual men’s golf invitational provided an opportunity for all eight members of the team to participate in one competition. Glendale placed second out of four teams at Alhambra Golf Course on March 16.

The four team scores (based on the best five players) were: Ventura (343), Glendale (358), Citrus (365) and El Camino (374). This competition was not a high pressure round because it was not a WSC all-conference match-up.

However, it was a perfect day for golf in Alhambra – sunny and cool.

Head coach Greg Osbourne, who won the All-American Classic and several other local PGA events in 2003, said his PGA member friend who runs Alhambra Golf Course gave GCC a great deal for playing there: $10 per player. The normal rate is between $35 and $65 per player.

Normally, GCC can only afford to send six golfers to play, so the two lowest-ranking players have to stay home.

“Osbourne has done a great job with Glendale over the past couple of years,” said winning head coach Bob E. Smith of Ventura.

The top four Vaquero scorers were the 2-under-par Aaron Fernandez with a 69, Brennan Amirkhizi (71), Michael Timpson (71), and Chris Ramirez (72).

The prize for best-scoring golfer was a $40 gift certificate redeemable at the Alhambra Golf Course golf shop.

Two guest players tied for first place with the low score of 66: Andrew Bennett of Ventura and Etsuy Fukaya of Citrus. Bennett went on to win the money in a sudden death play-off where the first one to shoot a better hole wins.

“First, you have to find a student who can make it through two years of academics. Second, you have to find a gentleman who can play well,” said Bennett’s coach, Smith, who has been coaching Ventura golf teams for six years.

Smith was rated USA’s No. 2 amateur in 1967 by Golf Digest. On the PGA tour, he ranked among the top 60 money winners for 10 of his 15 years. Then, after touring Europe and Japan, he played six years on the senior tour, ending up No. 192 on the lifetime earnings list with $382,785 of total winnings.

It’s just that kind of lucrative career that this GCC Invitational’s No. 1 Vaquero, Aaron Fernandez, could imagine.

“Ultimately, I am going to go pro and when I do, and all of my friends do. I just want to send a warning out to Tiger Woods: We are coming,” he said.

Fernandez surprised everyone as top finisher because his twin brother Danny, who is younger by five minutes, had been shooting better all season.

“It feels good to be No. 1 today,” said Aaron. “I’ve been shooting well and trying to be patient, and it finally paid off. I pretty much made every putt that I had to today.”

The invitational was bitter-sweet for top-ranked sophomore Amirkhizi, who tied with No. 2 Vaq performer Timpson.

“Even par, 71, was very disappointing,” said Amirkhizi. “I should be shooting 65 or 66.” A score of 65 would have been enough to win the invitational and the money.

“This last week has been tough with school. I’ve just got to work on the game more – focus more,” he said.

Missed putts and bad luck were the cause of Amirkhizi’s less-than-perfect showing. Because this was not a qualifying round, his score only bruised his ego, not his No. 1 ranking on the team.

Vaqueros and guest players alike appeared to enjoy the day – that is, except for two or three golfers who lost their cool after a missed putt or tee-off and cursed out loud or threw a club.

The bottom four Vaquero scorers were Phillip Gonzales with a 75, Danny Fernandez (76), Vincent Lam (76) and Jin Park (77).

The Vaqueros had a qualifying round in San Dimas on a rainy March 21 to determine who would travel and play Monday (March 28) at the WSC tournament San Dimas Golf Course. Danny Fernandez and Jin Park finished last and would have to stay home.

The results of the all-conference tournament in San Dimas Monday were: College of the Canyons (350), Citrus (367), Glendale (373), Allen Hancock (373), Ventura (380), and Bakersfield (382). Glendale took third in the tie-breaker based on how well the individuals did rank by rank.

Individual Vaquero scores were: Timpson (71), Amirkhizi (73), Lam (73), Gonzales (77), Aaron Fernandez (79), and Ramirez (81).

For those who wish to attend the upcoming seven-team tournament at Glendale’s Oakmont Country Club, spectators are welcome, provided they dress appropriately.

Oakmont has a strict dress code: “reasonably fashionable” golf attire is required: no jeans, t-shirts, shirts without collar or sleeves, shorts higher than four inches above the knee, cargo shorts or cargo pants.

Tee-off for this Glendale College WSC tournament is April 18 at 11 a.m. at Oakmont Country Club.