Casa Grande's Garfield advances to golf TOC

Two North Bay League golfers and one from St. Helena qualified on Monday for the North Coast Section's Tournament of Champions.

Cardinal Newman's Eric Bolander and St. Helena's Ryan Johnson advanced to next Monday's TOC by posting low scores in the Division 2 Championship at

Beau Pre GC in McKinleyville while Casa Grande's Ryan Garfield earned his invitation in the Division 1 qualifier at Walnut Creek's Diablo Creek.

Johnson shot a two-over-par 73 while Bolander had a 76. Garfield came in with a seven-over-par 79.

While three individuals advanced, the teams representing the Redwood Empire came home empty handed.

Maria Carrillo and Sonoma Valley competed in the Division 1 tournament while El Molino, St. Vincent and Willits played in the Division 2 event.

Garfield, who is a senior, will be playing in his third Tournament of Champions.

"I was on the Casa teams that made it this far when I was a freshman and sophomore," he said. "Next Monday, playing as an individual, will be a different experience."

Garfield and the other competitors had to battle the wind on Monday.

"It definitely affected the scoring," he said. "It seemed like on most holes we were hitting into the wind. It was difficult.

"My game has been starting to come together the last few weeks, especially my iron and approach shots. I think I have a good chance at the Tournament of Champions."

Garfield, who plays to a one handicap, didn't have a birdie Monday. He had seven bogeys and 11 pars.

The low round of 72 was turned in by Brian Perquet of Castro Valley.

The conditions also weren't ideal in McKinleyville where overnight rains left the course soggy. Wind was also a factor.

"The front nine was real wet and as the day went on the course dried out some," Johnson said.

The highlight of the sophomore's round came on the fifth hole, a par 5. He drove the ball 280 yards down the middle of the fairway and then, from 200 yards out, put his second shot five feet from the hole.

"It wasn't one of the best rounds I've had but it was good enough to advance," Johnson said. "I had the eagle, one birdie, five bogeys and the rest pars.

"I'm glad I got to see the course the day before we played because strategy was very important. Most the greens were crowned and if your approach shot hit in the wrong spot, the ball would roll off the green."

Doug Pike, the coach at St. Helena, is one of Johnson's boosters.

"He's 16 years old and can shoot par at any course he plays," Pike said. "His swing speed with the driver is more than 100 miles per hour.

"He's turning the corner with his game and he should just keep improving."

Bolander, who is a freshman, had a birdie to go along six bogeys and 11 pars.

"It wasn't one of my best rounds but the conditions had a lot to do with that," Bolander said.

"Overall, I played pretty steady. My drives were off but my chipping and putting saved me."

Medalist honors went to Stuart Hall's Daniel Connolly with a 67.