Golfer Roberto Lievana lines up his shot on the fairway. He lead his team to victory, shooting a 74. (Courtesy of Saddleback Sports Information)
Saddleback College’s men’s golf team took to the course on Monday at the Orange Empire Classic at the Los Serranos Country Club in Chino Hills, California. The team faced off with Irvine Valley College, Cypress College, Riverside Community College, Santiago Canyon College and Orange Coast College in their season’s first conference battle.
Saddleback had the opportunity to play the South Course at Los Serranos, a par 74 known for being the longest course in California. With the 15-40 record from the previous season in their head, Saddleback golfers came with a hunger for victory.
Golfer Alex Diaz, a transfer from the University of Arizona, started the round off rough but finished strong, only scoring an 84, 10 above par.
“The first nine holes were rough. I hit a few bogies, double bogies, and I knew I had to turn my game around the next nine,” Diaz said. “Starting the back nine was like a fresh start. I actually scored an even par.”
Golfer Nick Prudhomme was proud of how his teammates were playing as the day went on.
“Our team did great! We won all of our conference matches and even Roberto Lievana shot an even par, leading our team to victory,” Prudhomme said. “Just a great effort from our team brought us up.”
Prudhomme scored an 84, Lutz scored a 78, Troy Ditzler scored an 82, Lieavana scored a 74, Diaz scored an 84 and Chris Reck scored an 84. The team as a total shot 402 compared to Cypress’ 410, Santiago’s 431, Riverside’s 420, OCC’s 412 and IVC’s 446.
“They played really tough,” said Coach Wayne Westling.
With a high of 57 degrees and wind gusts up to seven to 10 miles per hour, the weather was not on the Gaucho’s side but that did not stop them.
“It was cold, extremely windy, but Lievana still shot a 74, being the only golfer in the tournament to shoot par or better,” Westling said. “The course was extremely difficult, the most difficult it probably gets with how the holes were set up.”
Saddleback returns to Los Serranos Country Club on Wednesday, Feb. 3 for round two of the tournament.
“We will be back in town to play the North Course at Serranos. Starting this season 5-0, we are really looking forward to repeating to advance to 10-0 before the week is over,” Westling said.
Saddleback looks forward to the opportunity of leading the OEC with a 10-0 record, a strong bid for state championship hopes.