College of the Desert Men's Golf had a dramatic final day to the regular season on Monday, April 30th as they not only won the PCAC Championship, but did so holding a tie breaker edge over the second place team.
The Roadrunners found themselves in the lead after the first round of play, an exact opposite situation from last season. In 2017, the team was behind after the first round and fought from 12 strokes back to win the title. This season, with two players from that 2017 Championship day, sophomore Steven Wang (Taipei (TW) Municipal Nei-Hu Senior) and sophomore Samuel Berglund (Victoria (AUS) Rowville Secondary College), Desert took a four stroke lead after the first round, then had to hold on for dear life in the second round to win the Conference title.
Going into the PCAC Finals, Desert and Palomar College were tied and after the first round, the Roadrunners had a four stroke lead on the Comets of Palomar and a six stroke lead on Mt. San Jacinto College, going into the second half of a 36-hole marathon Pacific Coast Athletic Conference Championship at The Golf Club of California in Fallbrook. The Roadrunners had three players named to the All-Pacific Coast Athletic Conference team and this was the second consecutive title in the second season for College of the Desert in the PCAC.
After the first 18 holes, both freshman Joseph Bogaert (Ghent (BE) Sint-Barbara College) and Berglund rolled into the clubhouse with a three-over 75, the top score in the first round was a 73.
Wang shot a four-over 76 and freshman Clement Heurtin (Nantes (FR) NDTA) and sophomore Bobby Kim (South Korea) both shot a six-over 78. Freshman Nicklaus Marshall (Bermuda Dunes) wrapped up the first round top six for the Roadrunners with a 14-over, 86.
With a solid lead and first place in the first round, the Roadrunners were confident going into round two, as all the team needed to do was keep Palomar out of the top spot and Desert would be Conference Champs.
But things started to go sideways and Desert started to drift further back, as the Comets and the Eagles of Mt. San Jacinto appeared to be rising and in Championship events, the margin for error is very narrow. The difference between first and third place in the first round was six-strokes, that same difference between first and third place in the second round was five-strokes.
As the results started to filter in from the course at the conclusion of the second round, it was looking like Desert was going to end up in a potential playoff or worse, finish in second place to Palomar by one stroke. Interestingly, if the Eagles ended up winning the second round, Desert would be in a good spot. The Eagles and Palomar were locked, neck-and-neck into the final holes and all Mt. San Jacinto needed to do was get their number six guy in with a 77 or lower to win the second round and force a tie with the Comets and the Roadrunners, where Desert had the tie breaker.
Kim had a great second round, shooting a one-over 73, which was one-over the medalists in the second round, two of which shot an even-par, 72 and Kim was the only Desert player to drop strokes in the second round. Wang shot a five-over, 77 and both Bogaert and Berglund shot a six-over, 78. Heurtin shot a 10-over 82 and Marshall shot an 18-over 90.
Then, as the Roadrunners last player was clearing the course, the assembled PCAC coaches were informed that the Eagles had defeated the Comets, 383 to 384, and handing Desert the 2018 Conference Title.
First Year Men's Golf Coach Ken Simonds was ecstatic about the team's performance at the Conference Finals and is looking forward to the SoCal Finals.
Coach Simonds, commented on looking towards the SoCal Finals next Monday, "We've been right there with the best teams in Southern California all season. We've had some injuries that made the Conference season closer than it should have been, but our Roadrunners have persevered and I'm proud of them."
Desert will be leaving Sunday night to make their next appearance at Bakersfield Country Club in Bakersfield on the morning of Monday, May 7 as they participate in the CCCAA Southern California Finals.
Photo by Ken Simonds (COD Men's Golf head coach)
For additional information, please contact the COD Sports Information Office at 760.423.6641.