Brandon Giron feels this could be the best American Canyon High boys golf team he’s been on as he leads the Wolves in his third season on the ladder.
They’ll take a 6-4 Solano County Athletic Conference record into their final two matches, Thursday against Fairfield and April 25 against Vanden at Chardonnay Golf Club.
“I feel like this has been one of the best years for the program because we have a lot of experienced players,” he said after a loss to Benicia at Chardonnay on March 27. “The last couple of years, maybe a third of the team were picking up a club for the first time and we had to teach them. This year, we’re all well-versed in the golf etiquette and vocabulary and we all know what we’re trying to do. It’s just a matter of executing.
“We all care about what we’re doing on the course. We’re not ripping on each other. We’re ripping on ourselves because we can all play better. We have fun in practices, but in matches we like to buckle down a little more.
“Except for this guy,” he said of sophomore teammate Arsenio Villarimo IV. “He’s the guy you don’t want in your group because you’ll laugh too much.”
Villarimo played his first-ever high school match on March 27.
“It was either golf or swimming, and I don’t want to do swimming. My stroke is better in swimming; I just don’t like swimming,” Villarimo said. “At least with golf, if it’s raining I can skip practice.”
Rounding out the Wolves are senior Dylan Suguitan, juniors Myles Norris, Bryan Megia and Justin Andino, sophomore Bryan Matel and Lemuel Jumamoy, and freshman Aaron Mitchell.
“We beat Vanden three times last year, and then we lost two good players and picked up one,” said seventh-year head coach Jim Saylor, who is assisted by Dave Miller. “Bryan (Megia) should be doing better anyway, so we’re about where we were last year as far as ability.”
One of American Canyon’s losses probably should not have been one. Conditions were so wet the day they were supposed to play a road match against Vanden at Cypress Lakes Golf Course, that Saylor refused to let his team play. Vanden refused to reschedule it, so American Canyon had to take a forfeit.
Other than that, the Wolves have won all three against Bethel, won twice against Fairfield with one to go, split two with Vanden with one left, and lost all three to perennial SCAC champion Benicia.
Suguitan was the team’s Most Valuable Player last year, qualifying with Giron for the CIF Sac-Joaquin subsection tournament.
“He hasn’t quite got on track to playing how I know he can play yet,” Saylor said of Suguitan, “but I’m hoping he starts doing that soon.”
Neither Suguitan nor Giron is making it a priority to play in college.
“Dylan is probably going to get a scholarship with his brain,” Saylor said. “I think he’s a straight-A student and wants to go into pre-med or engineering.”
Said Giron, “I could be doing more (to improve my game), but I have a lot of classes and I want to maintain my valedictorian status. I’ve got good enough grades to get into a good school but if I can walk on to a team that would be a dream come true.”
Megia and Norris haven’t had the best seasons so far, but seem determined to get better.
“Sometimes this game makes me so mad,” Megia said last week. “It’s been super hard, but it’s going to be motivation to get better, bounce back harder. I think we can get to sections if we work more as a team and try to get more practice in.”
Norris, after shooting a season-best 48 last week, admitted he could have done better.
“On the last hole, I took a swing with I think my 5-iron from the mud and it came out so dirty and the shot was terrible,” he said.
When a teammate said he could have taken a free drop out of the mud, Norris said “I didn’t think I needed to. Honestly, if it wasn’t for that, I could have had a 45. But I shot 55 like three times in a row before this. It was always like three really bad holes messing me up.”
Mitchell is the team’s No. 3 player, having played in the Kids4Golf league last summer to prepare for his high school debut.
“It’s always been a goal of mine to come out here and play for the high school team,” he said March 27. “I’ve been playing bad lately. But with all the rain, it’s been hard to keep a consistent score.”
Most of the Wolves have improved since that day, and they’ve won five of six matches as a result. Mitchell has been nursing a back injury lately, but hopes to be at full strength as the May 1 conference championship tournament and beyond.
“He’s done good, so that program has paid off,” Saylor said of Kids4Golf. “I’m looking for big things by the end of the season out of Aaron. He’s got the desire to get better and he’s got a beautiful little baby fade that puts him in the middle of the fairway almost every time. It’s just that, as anybody who’s every played golf, you have to get out of your own way and let the good things happen.”