FAIRFIELD — The Davis High boys golf team — a relatively young squad — has been getting better and better as the season progresses, but coach Karl Ronning still saw a bit of lingering doubt as his Blue Devils opened the postseason on Monday.
DHS was wondering if it belonged with some of the elite teams in the Sac-Joaquin Section — but the answer is a resounding yes.
The Devils shot a 402 at Monday’s SJS North Divisional Tournament, qualifying for next week’s Masters event. Davis faced adversity throughout the day, but responded to edge fifth-place Del Oro by two strokes.
Granite Bay (379) took first at the Rancho Solano course, followed by Jesuit (383) and Oak Ridge (396).
“I’m just so proud of these guys,” Ronning told The Enterprise. “Jesuit, Granite Bay, Oak Ridge and Del Oro are all battle-tested. They have essentially the same teams that qualified last year, so it was about us getting over that first hump — and we did.
“All year we’ve been just taking that next step and going on from there.”
A pair of Blue Devil sophomores — Delta Valley Conference Player of the Year Andrew Arnheiter and Sam Yamauchi, who missed the U.S. Open Qualifier at El Macero to play in the divisional — tied for fifth individually as each carded a 75.
“Sam was driving really well,” Ronning said. “Andrew just played really solid. He had three bad holes … but Andrew has been getting really good at letting those things go and moving on.”
Senior Cyrrus Espino (82) and juniors Patrick Cajandig (84) and Preston Walchli (86) rounded out the DHS scoring, while senior Brandon Strong contributed an 87.
What they all had in common, according to Ronning, was mental toughness on a pressure-filled day.
“Sam was in front of me and Preston was behind (the group of players from other schools that I was monitoring), and I could see them getting bad break after bad break, and battling through them all,” said the veteran coach. “The guys just didn’t give up and fought hard for everything they got (Monday).”
The Blue Devils will compete at the SJS Masters tourney next Monday at The Reserve in Stockton. It’s the first time DHS has made it this far since the 2011 Devils reached the NorCals.