Dons break through to State Championship

MURRIETA – Santa Barbara High’s dream for a State title in boys golf remains intact after the SCGA Championship on Thursday, as the Dons finished third at the SCGA Golf Course in Murrieta.

San Diego Section’s Torrey Pines won the team title with a combined 3-under 357 while Southern Section champ Servite finished second at 363, one stroke ahead of Santa Barbara. Those three teams move on to compete against the top three teams in Northern California in Tuesday’s State Championship in Santa Maria.

John Baur, the Dons’ “sixth” man, carded Santa Barbara’s low round at 2-under 70. Every other Don recorded a score of 75 or under, resulting in a team score of 364.  Fourth-place Villa Park. was four strokes behind.

Jack Perry posted an even-par 72, followed by Ray Gerow’s 73, Mickey Kirby’s 74 and Shane Lebow’s 75.

It was the first time that Baur recorded the low score in a round for Santa Barbara this season.

“It does mean a lot to me, especially because I’ve been struggling this season a lot,” Baur said. “It’s good to come out here and put a score up that actually really counts, you know.”

“To help my team out I just feel really good because they’ve had my back all year,” he continued. “They’ve had my back all year, picking up my slack but now I’ve picked up some of their slack so it feels good to reciprocate.”

Baur put together a steady round, loading his scorecard with an abundance of pars and a limited amount of bogeys.

“I just dominated the par-fives,” he said. “I could have made a few more putts but I can’t complain.”

Mark Jensma, Jake Katz and Andrew Levitt all shared the lowest individual score of the day with matching 7-under 65s.

Laguna Blanca’s Niall Platt and San Marcos’ Dodge Ward fared well competing as individuals. Platt shook off a double bogey on his second hole to post five birdies to make the turn at 3-under par. Platt finished with a one-under 71.

“I just couldn’t get anything going on the second nine,” said Platt, an Owls senior who will be attempting to qualify for the U.S. Open this weekend in Sacramento.

Ward followed with an even-par 72 but didn’t have too much time soak it in, having to rush back to Santa Barbara for San Marcos’ 5 p.m. graduation ceremony. Ward and Royals coach Dave Siordia left the course before Ward’s score was posted on the big board and flew back in a four-seat plane with Siordia’s friend as pilot.

The four seniors on the Dons team also needed to rush back home for graduation, but chose to test the highways because of their 6 p.m. start. The drive home was going to feel much better knowing their goal of winning a state title was still alive.

“Starting high school, all we’ve been saying is we want a shot at the state title,” Lebow said. “Sophomore year we had a good shot at it and had some bad breaks and missed it by a couple, but this year we have seven solid guys. If we can just keep it going and go out and keep our heads down and play our game it will be good.”


1. Torrey Pines, 357

2. Servite, 363

3. Santa Barbara, 364

4. Villa Park, 368

5. Great Oak, 370

6. St. Augustine, 376

7. Stockdale, 381

8. El Camino, 382

9. Bullard, 387

10. Venice, 394