Preps

Thursday, Apr 25 2013 09:35 PM

Steady Sanders paces Garces to another win

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Wesley Barton of Tehachapi lets go of his driver after teeing off on the second tee during the SEYL mini-invitational at the Sundale Country Club.

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  2. 2 of 14

    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Highland's John Collins hits out of a trap at the SEYL mini-invitational at the Sundale Country Club.

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Dylan Faulkner of Highland hangs his head as his putt rolls by the cup at the Sundale Country Club.

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    After sinking a putt on the 8th green at the during the SEYL mini-invitational, Christian Sanders of Garces shows his approval with a fist pump!

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  5. 5 of 14

    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    While hitting out of the rough, a small branch got caught in Christian Sanders clubs. Sanders plays for Garces.

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Wesley Barton of Tehachapi blastes out of a bunker at the SEYL mini-invitational.

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    North's Hunter Hopkins, left, Dylan Faulkner, Highland, and Wesley Barton of Tehachapi ona fairway at the SEYL mini-invitational.

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  8. 8 of 14

    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Four balls lie close to pin at the SEYL mini-invitational at the Sundale Country Club.

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  9. 9 of 14

    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Wesley Barton of Tehachapi gets back on course at the SEYL mini-invitational.

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  10. 10 of 14

    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Highland's John Collins "blasts"out of a trap at the SEYL mini-invitational.

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  11. 11 of 14

    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Tehachapi's Joe Barba ponders his putt.

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  12. 12 of 14

    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Dustin Miles of Foothill chips onto the green at the SEYL mini-invitational.

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    East's Greg Medina is not pleased with this particular putt at the SEYL mini-invitational.

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  14. 14 of 14

    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    North's Hunter Hopkins, center, Dylan Faulkner, Highland, right, leave the third green and head to the fourth tee at the SEYL mini-invitational. Spectator on left is unidentified.

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BY ZACH EWING Californian staff writer zewing@bakersfield.com

Many golfers talk about consistency like it's the great white whale, the unattainable goal that always seems just out of reach.

Then there's Garces senior Christian Sanders, who goes about his business and pumps out rounds like Thursday's 1-under-par 71 at Sundale Country Club as if he was walking the dog.

"I've just been pretty consistent," Sanders said. "Some rounds, I'm not hitting my driver well but I'm putting well. Sometimes I don't putt but I'm hitting a lot of greens. I've just been steady."

This effort helped Garces to a 393 team score and its fifth Southeast Yosemite League mini-tournament title in as many tries.

The league wraps up with an area qualifier Monday at Mifflin-Buena Vista, but the Rams are already guaranteed a spot at area (back at Buena Vista on May 6) because they've clinched the league title.

"We don't have the depth we did last year, but these guys all work really hard," coach Nick Vallejo said. "In my three years coaching here, this is the hardest-working group I've had."

That starts with Sanders, who will attempt to walk on for the golf team at St. Mary's, but it extends throughout the team. On Thursday, Matt Layton shot 79, and Will Naworski and Johnny Hathaway each shot 80. Colton Rudie gave the Rams a solid fifth score at 83. Still, the 393 was well behind Garces' season best of 375.

"It's not bad; no complaints," Vallejo said. "We're just hoping we can turn it on at the right time. We'll see how we do at the last league tournament."

North shot 466 to finish a distant second, led by an 87 from Hunter Hopkins. Tehachapi finished in 483 behind Wesley Barton's 81 and Highland, which sits second in the overall league standings, shot 501 and finished fourth.

The Scots' score just goes to show you how maddening golf can be -- one week, you have it, one week you don't.

But Sanders seems to have found a way around that -- his bad shots never seem to affect him much. He hit an approach to within 5 feet on the par-5 18th, and though he missed the putt, he still birdied the hole to end the day under par.

"He says pretty level-headed," Vallejo said. "He's worked hard here for three years, and it really pays off."

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