Hoisting the program’s ninth overall title, the College of the Canyons men’s golf team was crowned the 2019 California Community College Athletic Association state champion after impressive individual and all-around team performances at the Silverado Resort & Spa North Course on Monday.
Winning the state title with a total team score of 743 (371/363), the Cougars finished the two-round tournament 14-under-par, topping runner-up Santa Barbara Community College’s score of 752 (381/371) by 18 strokes.
Holding a comfortable lead after an opening round score of 371, Canyons entered the final 18 holes of play optimistic.
“The boys teed off with a certain amount of confidence because they knew that we were doing better than Reedley and Mt. San Antonio College, but we were cautiously optimistic after a really good morning round,” said Canyons head coach Gary Peterson.
Led by a group of talented freshmen: Jules Lavigne, Anguerrand Voisin and Nobuhiko Wakaari, the Cougars were poised throughout the second day shooting some of the lowest scores of the tournament.
Wakaari shot a final round score of 69, which was the best score of the day and the lowest out of any Canyons golfer over the course of the tournament. Voisin followed two shots behind with a 71 and Lavigne a 74.
“My mindset was ‘beast mode,’” Voisin said of his second round play. “I have played in a lot of tournaments since I was seven years old so I’m used to the pressure and know how to control and manage my game when it’s an important tournament. I wanted to be focused even if I did 18 holes before because physically and mentally it was hard, but I couldn’t give up because it wasn’t just for me, but for the team.”
With his motivated individual play, Wakaari was named the individual state champion finishing with a total score of 142 (73/69) and Lavigne was third with a 146 (72/74) and Voisin finished in fourth place with a score of 146 (75/71).
“Just a lot of grinding,” Peterson said. “If you go down a little bit more Matt (Mansholt) and Tom (Sims) were tied for 10th so what more could a coach ask for? We had five golfers in the top 12 and we did what we had to do. It was a long drive up to Napa and we didn’t want to drive home wishing we could have done more. They had a goal and were determined to strive to be the very best and they really did.”
Winning the individual and team state titles in the same season for the first time ever, Canyons wins its fourth team title in seven years after finishing as runner-up in 2018.
“This is the most coachable team I’ve ever had,” Peterson said. “They bought into our program, they bought into what we did from the very beginning, they bought into our qualifying system, bought into our stress of the short game, showed up every time when I told them to go play ‘chica.’ They never gave me any grief and were a very coachable team who bought into our philosophy and into our program.”