The Centurions took home a big state title, while the girls team finished with a solid third-place finish.
The Centurions came, saw and conquered at the state championship at Mission Inn last week.
Behind the hot shooting of seniors Daniel Core and Eugene Hong, as well as sophomore Canon Claycomb, Circle Christian hauled in a big state title, and the Centurions finished 22 strokes ahead of second place St. Stephens.
The win had a redemptive quality to it, because the team had fallen short the last few seasons, head coach Scott Richardson said.
“We knew we had a really talented group coming in, and we’ve been close the last couple of years,” Richardson said. “We won it three years ago, came in fourth last year and second the year before. Once you’ve tasted it, you want to get back there.”
Winning a state title is always an impressive feat, but it may be even more impressive considering the Centurions also had a setback in the form of a wrist injury to junior Evan Sun, which forced him to withdraw in the first round after three holes.
With Sun’s absence, it meant the scores from each of the remaining golfers would have to count — putting pressure on the others to step up, and they did just that.
In the first round, Core shot a team best 67 to start out at five-under, while Claycomb shot three under at 69. Hong would shoot a 73, while sophomore Johnny Wright shot an 87.
The combined score of 296 put the Centurions in first place after the first day — leading St. Stephens by five shots going into the second round.
Despite being in decent position at the top of the leaderboard, Richardson still was worried about the health of his team.
“One of the new players (Wright), his score was a little higher than normal, but turns out he was coming down with getting sick,” Richardson said.
Luckily for Richardson, Sun’s wrist injury was minor, and Wright was able to lower his score by seven shots on the second day.
In the second round, the Centurions stepped up their game, shooting 284 as a team. They were led by the Hong’s 68. Sun followed up with a 71, while Claycomb and Core shot a 72 and 73, respectively.
At the end of the day, on the individual level, Core finished fourth at four-under-par, while Hong and Claycomb shared third.
By decreasing their team shot total from 296 to 284, the Centurions not only pulled away from St. Stephens — finishing with a tournament total of 580 — but also set the record for lowest 18-hole score since in 2011, when Mission Inn began hosting the state tournament.
Hitting that mark was just one of the many signs of the impressive abilities of the Circle Christian golf team.
“This is a phenomenal collection of talent in one place, and they did what they were capable of,” Richardson said.