By PAUL LEVIKOW
A team of all-star golfers from Mission Trails Golf Course in San Carlos won fourth place at the Region 12 championship Labor Day weekend at Indian Wells Golf Resort in the Coachella Valley. The team competed against all-star teams from Northern California, Hawaii and Nevada in a two-day tournament. The team from Sonoma County won the event.
The Mission Trails team won the National PGA Junior League All-Stars Southern California Sectional Championship Aug. 16 to advance to the regional tournament. Six players made up a team of all-stars in the 17-Under division of the league run by Pat Diaz Golf over the summer. The team made it through a qualifying match at Alhambra Golf Course in Los Angeles County in early August to advance to the sectional championship at the Champions Course at Omni La Costa Resort & Spa on Aug. 15. They won that tournament by six strokes.
The Mission Trails team consists of Charlie Carlson, Zach Downs, Casey Hermanson, Andrew Levikow, Ethan Roe and Taylor Tweet. Two of the boys are rising freshmen who plan to play for the Patrick Henry High School golf team, while two others are already on the Henry team. The other two competitors play for the Helix and Grossmont High teams.
Taylor Tweet was “ecstatic” when he was selected and “really excited” to compete for the first time in the 17U Division after taking two years off following his involvement in the 13U tournament.
“We ended up going farther than Mission Trails has ever gone,” the Patrick Henry High freshman said. “Even though we didn’t get the outcome we wanted, it was a really good experience to get out there and play.”
Tweet plans to play for the Henry boys golf team and stay involved with the PGA Junior League at Mission Trails. “The whole team had a bunch of fun and I will always remember how much fun that was,” Tweet said. “We’ll be back next year better than ever.”
Team Captain Pat Diaz had the difficult task of selecting the players to compete in two divisions, including a 13U team.
“We started with almost 55 players in our PGA Junior league at Mission Trails. Through a series of in-house competition, the players earned their way onto the All-Star team,” Diaz said. “The six young men who were chosen for our All-Star team not only worked hard on their games, but have all become great friends and have learned to play well together.”
Out of all the private golf clubs and upscale golf courses around Southern California, it was Mission Trails Golf Course and Pat Diaz Golf that represented the Southern California PGA Section.
The regional competition consisted of a team from a private country club in Henderson, Nevada, a team from a golf academy in Honolulu, Hawaii and an all-star team whose members represented several PGA Junior Leagues from throughout Sonoma County, California.
“These players prove that a small neighborhood golf course can produce championship quality golfers because of their passion and dedication to the sport,” Diaz said. “They stepped up when their partner made an error and kept each other level-headed when things got tough. I am so proud of the players they have become and I’m beyond ecstatic that they got to represent all of Southern California at the Regional Championship.”
Diaz teaches golfers of all ages and skill levels, but he is most known for his passion for junior golf.
“I grew up right here at Mission Trails and had my first lessons here,” he said. “I am so proud to not only be able to teach here where I started, but to continue to give back to my very own community and build something great for kids and their families.”
The tournament at Indian Wells was the final stage of competition for the 17U teams. A 13U team from San Diego won the regional tournament and advanced to the national championship event in Arizona in October that will be televised on ESPN.
— Paul Levikow writes on behalf of the Mission Trails PGA Junior League.