Folsom golf team places sixth at state tournament

By: Matt Long
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Folsom High’s golf team didn’t finish the season as well as they would have liked, but the trip to the state tournament is one that none of the players will forget. “We were really excited to be there,” senior Brian Knoll said. “They took really good care of us down there; almost like we were on vacation. It was a lot of fun.” While the accommodations were nice and the players were treated better than ever, Folsom was there to win and the intensity was high. “It was pretty intense,” Folsom junior Joel Slak said. “It was like a mini-tour event in that a lot of people were there, including college coaches. We didn’t finish the way we wanted to, but it was a good experience to see where we stacked up against the best.” Knoll added, “It was pretty surreal. We expected to win, but I think once we got to the course and saw so many good players, it kind of got in our heads.” The Bulldogs placed sixth out of six teams, shooting a 391 at Santa Maria Country Club on June 8. Santa Barbara won the tournament with a 358, followed by Sevite (363), Torrey Pines (372), Christian Brothers (380) and Foothill (385). Folsom’s scores were good had it been any other tournament, but in the most important tournament against the best competition all season, the best the Bulldogs could do was sixth. Slak and Taylor Knoll, both juniors, shot 2-over-par 74s to lead the way. D.J. Christensen, one of three seniors along with Brian Knoll and Alex Morgan, was 4-over-par with a 76, while Brian Knoll shot a 5-over-par 77. Morgan and sophomore Dalton Theis came in at 18-over-par 90s. “I thought I played pretty good,” Taylor Knoll said. “As a team we were disappointed because we thought we could have done better.” Even Slak, who was 2-over, was disappointed with his score or at least his last two holes. “I bogeyed the last two holes so I was not a happy camper when I finished,” Slak said. Brian Knoll wasn’t happy with his 5-over-par 77 either. “I haven’t been playing well all year,” Brian said. “The young guys have picked me up all season and I was hoping this time I could pick them up, but I didn’t play like I can. I should have shot a 68 or 69 on that course.” Folsom coach Steve Burgess, in his 18th year of coaching golf at Folsom High, said it just wasn’t their day. “We obviously didn’t play as well as we wanted to play and the boys were disappointed, but they absolutely loved the experience,” Burgess said. “I had the opportunity to follow some of our players for awhile and the difference was chipping and putting. We just couldn’t put the ball in the whole and that’s the lesson learned.” Like Brian Knoll, Christensen hoped to play better. “My round could have been better,” Christensen said. “I wanted to make more putts than I did. It was a really nice course and I felt like I should have been in the 60s.” Though disappointed with their finish, the season will provide great memories for years to come. “I’ll remember how we played at Nor-Cals,” Taylor Knoll said. “That was the best tournament and the best we played all year and knowing that we had qualified for state, that was the best feeling all season.” His brother added, “It was an awesome season,” said Brian, who’s earned a golf scholarship to the University of Nevada Reno. “Our younger guys played great all year and it was fun watching them.” Slak said, “It was fun playing on a team that had a chance to win.” “We achieved our goal of making it to state,” Christensen said. “It’s definitely a great achievement.” Burgess said that it’s a season to remember. “The thing I will remember is just the group of young men,” Burgess said. “From all aspects, from the their talent on the course, academics, to the way they got along and knew their role on the team, it’s just a quality group of young men, a once-in-a-lifetime team.”