A true underdog story took place at the Silverado Resort and Spa in Napa last week. The Sonoma State men’s golf team upsets the favorite of the tournament, the Chico Wildcats. The Seawolves ranked nationally at No. 24 defeated the No. 1 Wildcats in the best of five match play.
Led by senior Brandon Lee, the men of Sonoma State pulled out a 3-2 victory at 2016 CCAA Golf semifinals against the Wildcats. With triumphs from Lee, senior Kenny Maroney and junior Justin Shluker, the Seawolves advance to the championship match against Cal State East Bay on Wednesday.
“One of us would have to take care of our match and trust that the guys in front and behind us would do the same,” said Shluker. “We did what we all expected we would do and we won.”
The road to this victory was not paved smoothly leading up to this championship match. Before even getting a run at the semifinals the Seawolves had to find there way to the CCAA Match Play semifinal game.
With some sharp shooting by Shluker, who landed a birdie at the 18th hole, the Seawolves pulled into a tie with Cal State Dominguez Hills for the fifth-place spot. Both teams finished the day with a 594, 18-over-par.
A grand dance of fate leftthe Seawolves blessed with some good news. Cal State San Marcos is ineligible to advance into the semifinals due to provisions concerning the CSUSM’s NCAA Division II Candidacy Year Two status. This ineligibility advanced both Sonoma State and Cal State Dominguez Hills out of fifth place and into a tie for the fourth and last position available in the semi-final.
Going into the CCAA championship with a strong mind set, the Seawolves were not able to take home the gold, falling just short in a 3-2 loss to Cal State East Bay. This was the highest conference event finish since 2009. The Seawolves earned runner up honors.
Even with Lee finding a score that matched his lowest of the season with a round of 69, the men of Sonoma State collectively couldn’t close out the victory. Lee beat Adam Stone’s score of 75. Freshman Spencer Clapp carded a 72 beating opponent Jonathan Murphy’s score of 76.
“Our preparation has led us to great accomplishments already,” said Clapp. “We just need to stick with our game plan and keep our same dedication to practice.”
In all seven tournaments that the Seawolves have entered this spring, they have managed to finish in the top three. Coming off this past tournament with strong momentum. The gentlemen of Sonoma State have been selected to participate in the 2016 NCAA Division II Men’s Golf Championship. “We are going to try and bring home a National Championship for not only our program, but for the school and people who have helped us in each step along this journey,” said Shluker.
The Seawolves will be going into the tournament ranked No. 4 in the West. This tournament will be held at University Golf Club in Las Cruces, New Mexico May 2 through May 4. This will be the Seawolves 10th regional appearance in the last 11 years.
“Beating Chico tells each one of us that our hard work is paying off and if we continue our work, we are a team to look out for at nationals,” said Shluker.