Badger golfers have eye on section title

Two-time league MVP Lauterbach returns

March 4, 2014 

The Yosemite High boy's golf team is going for their sixth league championship in seven years and third in a row this season.

The team teed off the 2014 season with a third place finish in the Sanger Invitational held at Sherwood Forest Country Club on Feb. 26.

The Badgers (434 ) beat six teams but lost to Central High (402) and Bullard (428). Clovis High school came in fourth with a 440.

Yosemite played in the CIF Central Section D-II playoffs last May, placing third. With the return of most of the players from that successful team, the Badger's expectations are high this season.

Senior Kevin Lauterbach is the reigning two-time North Sequoia League MVP and is expected to repeat again this season. He played a steady list of USGA sponsored youth tournaments last summer and won two of the events.

According to coach Reg Turner, if not for Lauterbach, junior Ryan Emerick, a junior, would have won back-to-back NSL MVP awards. He also played an extensive schedule this past summer.

Senior Eddie Nixon, also having played tournaments throughout the year, won one of the NSL tournaments last year. Senior Ben Avena is expected to have a big year coming in second place to Lauterbach in last year's NSL championship tournament.

Freshman Spencer Uzzell shot the second lowest qualifying score for the Sanger tournament and should be a strong addition to the team.

Rounding out the top six players who travel is Austin Bain, a senior. Others that may fight for that sixth spot are sophomores Garrett White, Tanner Meeks, and Connor McMechan, and freshman Tyler Wallace.

At the Sanger Invitational, Lauderbach shot an 85, followed by Emerick (87), Nixon (86), Avena (86), Uzzell (90), and Bain (92).

"We were disappointed with a third place finish in Sanger, but we only had two days of practice as a team, so it is acceptable at this stage of the season," Turner said. "This is a senior strong team which reflects a lot of league and tournament experience. After losing last year in Porterville, Turner said he and assistant coach Glen Lauterbach challenged the players to play tournament golf during the summer. Several responded and should be "tournament tough".

According to Turner, the biggest challenge for the team is playing 18 holes. The format for the NSL is to play six nine-hole league tournaments. All post season tournaments are 18 holes.

"Eighteen holes can put a special demand on a player not only physically but mentally," Turner said. " The player must maintain a high level of energy as well as concentration sometimes up to six hours. Golf is probably the only sport that is this demanding."

In addition to its league title, the Badgers are also defending their academic GPA honor for all boys golf teams in the section. They averaged a 3.68 last year.

NSL tournament play starts at Madera Municipal Golf Course on March 12.

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