Postseason high school golf can present different problems for a golfer, with one being having never played a course before.
Such was the case for Foothill High junior Brandon Knight and his Falcon teammates when they took on the track at the San Gabriel Country Club for the California Interscholastic Federation Boys' State Championship.
Knight nor anyone else on the Falcons had played the course, so they had no idea what to expect. They did get in a practice round the day before the state final, but as to what would be a good score, Knight relied on some advice.
"I asked a friend of mine who is in college that I knew had played the course," Knight explained. "He thought 4- or 5-under could be the winning score."
He was right.
Knight used a seven-birdie, two-bogey round to post a 5-under 66, good enough to win the CIF Championship by one stroke.
"In the practice round we did our research," said Knight, who three days after the tournament headed to Scotland to play nearly a dozen courses.
The week before Knight shot an even-par 72 at the Berkeley Country Club to finish in a tie for 12th place. June 1, he showed up at San Gabriel ready to roll.
"I hit a few close early but didn't make the putts," said Knight, who started on the back nine.
His fourth hole was a par-5, and Knight was up to the task.
"I hit driver, 3-iron to just short of the green," said Knight, who got up and down to make birdie.
He got another one two holes later, but then bogeyed No. 16 to drop back to 1-under. Knight was able to get one back at the 18th and that was the beginning of a nice run that saw him birdie the first and second holes -- three straight overall -- setting him at 4-under.
"At that point I knew I was playing well," Knight said.
But there was still work to do.
He moved to 5-under with a birdie at No. 5, but then fell back to 4-under at No. 6 after a bogey. His final birdie of the round -- and the one that ultimately gave him the win -- came at No. 8.
After he shot par on the final hole, he got the news.
"My coach told me right after the round that I had won," Knight said.
Foothill finished fourth in the team competition.
When he gets back from Scotland, Knight will take a shot at qualifying for the U.S. Junior Amateur.
Two local pitchers in softball World Series
It should come as no surprise that former Amador Valley pitcher Danielle Williams and Danielle May, formerly of Foothill, would help lead their teams to the NCAA Women's College World Series.
Both were legendary pitchers in high school, and they have transferred their skills successfully to the college game.
Williams, a senior, absolutely put Northwestern on her back and carried the team to the World Series. Williams finished 31-6 on the season for the Wildcats.
She finished her career at Northwestern with an 83-27 mark and leaves as one of the most decorated Wildcat players in school history.
Williams finished her senior year with a 2.09 ERA, striking out 333 batters in 251 innings pitched. She pitched every game in the postseason, getting wins against Oakland and McNeese State (two) in the NCAA Regionals.
She followed that with a 2-1 record at Arizona State in the Super Regional, leading Northwestern to the upset series win. The team lost to Oklahoma and UCLA to be eliminated from the World Series.
May, only a sophomore, is a part of three-headed rotation for Oklahoma. For the regular season May was 15-0 with a 0.99 ERA, striking out 93 in 85 innings pitched. She took her first loss of the season in the World Series when the Sooners were defeated by UCLA 7-3. Oklahoma would advance to the finals by beating the Bruins in a second game later in the day on Monday.
Editor's note: Dennis Miller is a contributing sports writer for the Pleasanton Weekly. To contact him about his Pleasanton Preps column, email [email protected]