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COC takes the fifth - state golf championship

Posted: May 13, 2008 2:22 a.m.
Updated: July 14, 2008 5:01 a.m.
MURRIETA - What do 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008 have in common?

Well, besides being incremental even-numbered years, they also represent the seasons in which College of the Canyons has won a men's State Community College Golf Championship.

This last title was achieved on Monday afternoon at the Southern California Golf Association (SCGA) course in Murrietta, as Canyons finished with a 7-over par 727 to best second-place Saddleback by eight strokes.

The victory was especially sweet for the Cougars since this was the first year in a decade in which they did not win their conference crown.

"I told the guys that if they win the state, no one will remember not taking conference," said Gary Peterson, the team's skipper since 1984.

"Now that we have the state championship, I barely remember losing conference - barely."

Participating in this year's title run were Andrew Ok, Casey Piper, Justin Renaux, Davis Kirkland, Ryan Perez and Lucas Allensworth.

Big rounds were scored by Piper (a second round 6-under 66) and Renaux (a first round 3-under 69). Ok also scored consistently with a 72 and a 70, respectively.

Piper's score was even more monumental because it came off a first round blowup of 78.

"Piper's 12-stroke turnaround between rounds was amazing," Peterson said. "I don't believe I've ever seen anything like it. That fact that it came on such a huge stage was even more impressive.

"I just had a terrible round," said the stoic sophomore who is planning to attend Cal-State Northridge in the fall. "But I knew I could not finish my career here on that note.

"I didn't want to blow a state title for us, either," the low-key athlete added. "Coach Peterson just told me to go out and shoot the course record. I didn't think that was realistic, but I put things together. I'm not really that excited for my effort today, but I am happy for my team."

Renaux was a bit more animated, saying, "This felt really good today and did not make many mistakes. My iron play is what saved me (he had 30 pits on the day), though. I'm proud of our team, but we knew it was our turn to uphold the history of this program."

More special for Peterson and his longtime assistant Mark Savage was the fact that the COC womens team won a state championship last fall, making it only the second time in school history (the other being 2002) that both squads brought home state hardware.

"This is a very good team," Savage said. "They know how to drive, how to hit the ball, how to put. Our job was to make them think out there. Golf is the ultimate individual sport, so team golf is almost contradictory.

"They have to go out and exhibit not only physical skills but mental sharpness as well," he continued. "This was a tough line to walk today - being what I like to call cautiously aggressive - and they were just that today."


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