Pioneer High School boys golf team wins first Golden Empire League Tournament, Woodland places second – Daily Democrat

The Pioneer High School boys varsity golf team has gotten the 2024 season off to a great start that continued this week at the first Golden Empire League Tournament.

This past Monday, the Patriots competed in their first 18-hole GEL Tournament of the campaign and placed at the top of the pack.

“We are still learning every day,” stated Pioneer coach Jason Messer. “Golf is an up and down game, as they get better at dealing with adversity, scores will come down. I really think we will be better in the second half of the season.”

The first league-wide competition took place at Bartley Cavanaugh Golf Course in south Sacramento and teed off at noon. The Patriots placed first with a cumulative team score of 437, followed closely by crosstown rival Woodland, who shot a 443.

“We are a relatively inexperienced team,” Messer explained. “Most have only played for a few years.”

Mira Loma came in third (446), Casa Roble in fourth (458), Dixon in fifth (510), Rio Linda in sixth (599) and Mesa Verde in last (668).

Pioneer was led to the tournament victory by junior Drew Sharp. Fresh off the basketball court, Sharp tallied a team-low 79 and earned 74 points towards his individual postseason ranking.

“Sharp has really improved this year. He was shooting mostly in the high 80’s up to 100’s, and he has been leading us so far,” Messer recalled. “He has some sub-40 rounds in nine-hole matches and broke 80 in competition, which is impressive. He’s just starting to get serious so I think he has great potential.”

Two senior Patriots shot in the 80s. Diego Rodriguez recorded an 87 and earned 64 individual points. Conner Jansen racked up an 89 score and 60 points.

“Jansen and Rodriguez have also improved dramatically from last year posting sub-90 rounds,” Messer stated.

Pioneer varsity starting quarterback, junior Martin Bartz, contributed a 91 to earn 54 points.

“Bartz was less than a foot from a hole-in-one and anchored our team with a solid 91 out of the sixth spot,” Messer recalled. “His score was much better than most of the No. 6 players and definitely contributed to our win.”

Also tallying a 91 for 54 points was freshman Carson Biggs.

“Biggs is a freshman and has already shot in the low 40s in matches,” Messer stated. “I expect him to challenge for No. 1 next year.”

Rounding out the group was senior Talen Sibley, who is also green coming from the gridiron. The first-year golfer recorded a 92 and received 48 individual points.

“Sibley is still learning how to play tournament golf, when he figures it out, he will be scary good,” Messer proclaimed. “He regularly hits 300-yard bombs off the tee.”

The top three teams in the GEL will qualify for the playoffs. The top six individuals from the remaining teams will also advance. The Patriots host Mesa Verde at the Yolo Fliers Club on Thursday at 3 p.m.

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