Co-captain Brooke Yafckli practicing with her driver at the Arroyo Trabuco Golf Course driving range. (Austin Weatherman/Lariat)
The Saddleback College women’s golf team swept the Orange Empire Conference in a show of dominance at the Temecula Creek Inn Golf Course on Wednesday, Oct. 4. This would not be the first time the Gauchos would display their power as the team as a whole has a 11-1 league record right now along with a third place finish at the Desert Classic at Tahquitz Creek, Palm Springs earlier in September. Head coach Bob Bosanko says that it is the unique team culture the girls have built that makes them so good.
“The girls are coming together as a team and playing team golf,” Bosanko said. “They hangout on and off the course so they all get along. They bring their best effort week in, week out. It’s all you can ask for as a coach.”
The 2017 season marks the fourth year of coaching for Bosanko, but he is no stranger to the Gaucho family. He played football for Saddleback from 1970-1971 as well as returned to coach football from 1990-1997 under Bill Cunerty. Bosanko also coached wrestling at El Toro High School in Lake Forest, California. Last season, Bosanko coached the team into winning the OEC championships as well as leading them to an eighth place finish at the state championships.
Bosanko says another strong point for the team derives from their natural sense of competition.
“The girls deal with adversity very well. If they had a bad hole, they would put it behind them and not let it bother them,” Bosanko said. “They are able to move past the bad experiences and compete for rest of the match. They are there to compete and to play hard. Period.”
Despite having leaps and bounds in match play, Bosanko is always looking for the next step in each of the team member’s game, pointing out that there are still improvements to be made. He says the putting aspect of golf is very seriously, counting for half the strokes on a hole. During practice, Bosanko turns what could be tedious drills into a game, the whole team laughing and practicing together as a unit.
Another serious factor that affects scores is the team themselves. In competitive match play, the four scores are taken into account in the final tally. Bosanko says the top two players on the team are assumed to play well while the actual match rests in the hands of the third and fourth player on the team. Sophomore English major and co-captain Brooke Yafckli battles at the third spot every week, bringing her experiences from last year’s success to the the new team.
“It was nerve wrecking for all the girls to go to the state championships for the first time,” Yafckli said. “We didn’t do as well as we had hoped to do, but it gave all of us on the team last year good experience on how to play continuously and help Deanna and I lead the girls to get there and be at a more competitive level.”
Yafckli is one of two returners from last season, giving her the edge of experience on the course. She shot an 86 on a par 72 at Temecula Creek, satisfying the requirement for a win that day, but according to Yafckli, she needs to improve.
“I’m working on my putting and using my right hand less in my putting stroke and swing,” Yafckli said. “It has been affecting my fairway shots so my irons and my drivers.”
After last season’s success on the course, Yafckli points back to Bosanko’s coaching methods as the starting point to building a strong and close team. The team had not claimed a championship in the conference since Bill Cunerty’s last year of coaching in 2006. Placing dead last in league from 2014-2015, Yafckli says they could not have done as well as they did last year without Bosanko.
“He has told us that he’s not a golfer but can coach golf very well,” Yafckli said. “He has taken all of our swings to the next level and made us competitive. We would not have won the OEC championships last year if he had not guided us.”
Transferring from Marina High School in Huntington Beach, Freshman business major Brittney Do has lead the team’s charge this season with her top finishes in matches including scoring the second lowest at Temecula Creek with a 78. Do sits at the no. 1 position on the team, not only putting pressure on her to play well, but also signifying that she is the most skilled on the team. Unfortunately for other teams, Do says the pressure does not get to her.
“I was first all-league my last two years in high school,” Do said. “The transition from high school to college has been really smooth with coach Bob walking me through everything. The stress doesn’t get to me because I’m just used to it.”
She says her turning point of the match happened on hole eight on the front nine when she used her 3-wood fairway club to get her ball on the green in two shots on a par-5 hole.
Not all has been well with the team though as an injury early in the season took out one of their top players, soon quitting the team for good. Sophomore business major and co-captain Deanna Pagaduan says that even though their roster became shorter, the team became stronger.
“We did lose one person which is sad but it made us push ourselves harder because we still want to win and do our best even with one person gone,” Pagaduan said. “We are 11-1 and everyone has been putting a lot of time on the course and the range. Everyone is showing a lot of commitment to their sport and their team so it’s really motivating. We all feel motivated because we’ve bonded together.”