A very competitive North Bay League boys' golf season culminates today with the league tournament, in which teams will tune up on the same Petaluma course hosting the section championship in two weeks.
In Santa Rosa, the Sonoma County League tees up for a finals tournament with an automatic team bid to the section championship on the line.
The large school events begin a series of tournaments that NBL teams should be prepared for after going to an 18-hole format in league play. In past seasons the NBL played 9-hole league matches until a full round in the league championships. The section, regional and state events are 18 holes.
"Naturally the scoring averages were much higher than usual. But it will eventually help the kids in preparing for NCS," said Montgomery coach Jess Stimack.
Montgomery won six of eight league events to capture another NBL title and the league's automatic berth in the North Coast Section Tournament of Champions.
That event is in two weeks at Rooster Run in Petaluma.
Still, the Vikings are playing in today's league finals, at Rooster Run, to get another round in on the course hosting the section championships.
To reach the section championships, second-place Maria Carrillo must finish high enough at the section qualifier next week, in Brentwood.
With a third-place league finish, Cardinal Newman should gain entry to the NCS Division II tournament (for small schools). That event is next week, also at Rooster Run.
"We might be OK coming from a Division I league. We'll see if we have a shot," said Cardinal Newman coach Matt Vukicevich.
A Cardinal Newman appearance in the small school tournament might open the door for Ukiah, fourth in the NBL, to reach the section qualifier. The Wildcats could be recognized for the strength of the NBL following the addition of Casa Grande and Windsor this season.
"The league was pretty competitive. The NBL tournament will be a good tune-up for sections," said Ukiah coach Chris Philbrick.
While the team championship was settled in league play, the finals will decide players advancing to the section qualifier from teams that do not qualify for the postseason. Leading the way are Aaron Walker of Santa Rosa High, Connor Jeffries from Windsor High, and Ryan Garfield, out of Casa Grande.
Low scorers during the NBL season were Montgomery's Nick Rogers, Walker, Cardinal Newman's Scott Mitchell, Montgomery's Luke McLaughlin and Javier Torres of Ukiah.
Over at Oakmont West today, the Sonoma County League will decide its team champion. Analy and El Molino enter tied for the top spot after league play.
While Analy is a perennial league contender, El Molino is seeking the school's first boys' golf title since 1981.
"We haven't competed for an SCL title in a while. It's a good team," said El Molino coach Bill Olzman.
An El Molino league win would send the Lions into the NCS Division II finals and Analy to the section qualifier.