Shamrocks golf ready to defend title
They are the defending state champs. They have three players with a shot at an individual title. And they have a coach salivating at the chance to throw out a score in the 70s.
So what do the players on the Yuma Catholic golf team expect to happen at the Division III State Golf Tournament, which starts today and concludes Saturday at Antelope Hills Golf Course in Prescott?
Grady Bourguignon, who finished second at state last year but is second in scoring on the team behind senior Joey Pickels, takes a long pause emphasized by a small chuckle or two.
“I have no idea,” the sophomore said after the pause. “We're going to go up and play our best, and if it comes out in our favor, then great. If it doesn't, we'll be disappointed, but that's golf.”
Pickels is more blunt.
“It's ours to lose, in my opinion. As long as we get all five guys to do what we've done all season, then we should have a good shot at taking it home again.”
It's the 10th trip in a row to the state championship for the Shamrocks, who also won the team title in 2006. But there's been only one individual champion in the school's history: R.J. Wood — who won in 2006 and 2008.
Coach Bob Anderson said Bourguignon, Pickels and Max Coffeen are all in the mix. He said the trio hasn't lost to anyone besides one another.
Pickels took third last year. The reigning champ was a senior, leaving the field open.
Anderson said Coffeen, who was 15th last year, has as good a shot as his top two.
“Max is the ultimate grinder — hit the fairway, hit the green, put it down,” Anderson said. “It depends on his score, but if he comes in at par or 1-under, that could be a winning score.”
Zach Estes and Kody Boyd round out the five Shamrock golfers competing, with Joey Perricone making the trip as an alternate in case of an injury.
Bourguignon said he doesn't want to finish second, as not winning the tournament left a bad taste in his mouth.
“Last year it sucked coming in second. It was not a good feeling at all. Especially being so close and playing so well for so many holes, to have it end the way it did wasn't fun.”
Bourguignon, Coffeen and Pickels said that while an individual title would be nice, the focus is on the team title.
“We're expecting to win,” Coffeen said. “We're going to play our best and hopefully we end up winning. … I don't see us losing, but I don't think it's a guaranteed win.”