Vaqueros End Season With Drive Into Playoffs

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Jonathan Williams

LONG DRIVE: Vaquero Vincent Lam drives a ball down the fairway of the seventh hole at the WSC finals at Brookside Golf Club on April 30

Jonathan Williams, Sports Editor

A week after a second place finish at the Oakmont WSC, sophomore Vincent Lam and the Vaqueros golf team had one goal in its sights, a spot in the Southern California regional finals.

The Vaqueros finished in third in the Western State Conference finals and secured a playoff spot at the Brookside Golf Club in Pasadena on Monday.

“I was pretty confident today and I knew this was the most important round of the year,” Lam said.

Coming off a season best first-place finish in last week’s tournament at Oakmont, Lam had been hitting the ball well. He was matched up alongside Aaron Volkenant of Antelope Valley, Tristan Iopini of Allan Hancock and Takakazu Furukawa of Citrus College.

With the hint of summer sun shining on the blades of grass at Brookside, Lam had some hiccups through the first six holes.

“I started out at six-over-par but then brought it back,” Lam said.

Lam was optimistic about his play. After a difficult sand trap shot, he was able to save par on a long par-4 seventh hole. He then birdied the par-3 eighth hole after a high 7-iron shot that sailed up into the clouds and landed about 10 feet right of the pin.

At the long par-5 ninth hole tee, Lam and the other players encountered something that they had they had not seen before in a tournament. The hole locations changed midway through competition. Antelope Valley coach Brad Hazard was following Volkenant in a golf cart.

“That has never happened before,” Hazard said.

Play continued after some friendly debate between the competitors. Lam had a chance for a birdie putt on the ninth, but his ball hopped off the side of the green and made par on his fifth shot.

Lam ran into his only bad tee shot of the first round at the par-3 10th hole. He grabbed an 8-iron from his bag, started his backswing, and powered through — only to catch the bottom part of his club on the grass. After the ball trickled about 40 yards down the fairway, He muttered words of frustration to himself as he bogyed the 10th hole.

Lam shot an even par through the rest of the holes and finished with a three-over-par 75 after round one.

Following a second round 82, Lam was satisfied about the day’s events.

“I’m pretty happy where we are right now,” Lam said.