Erik Flores makes a big splash at golf NorCals
If any freshman had a chance to make some waves at the prep golf state level, it was Nevada Union’s Erik Flores.
Flores, who won both the Junior National Masters in Oahu, Hawaii, the PARS International in West Palm Beach, Florida in 2000 and last year’s Nevada State Junior Championships in Reno, carded a six-over-par 77 to finish tied for 19th in the NorCal State Championship at Monarch Bay C.C. in San Leandro Monday.
In weather which had ducks running for cover, Flores and the rest of the 96-man field hit the links.
“The weather was terrible. It was rainy, 30 mph winds, it was absolutely brutal. They even stopped play for 45 minutes because balls kept rolling off the greens,” Flores said. “But it wasn’t all the weather. I missed a lot of putts.”
Flores, who finished second in the Capital Athletic League and earned his ticket to the NorCals with a clutch performance at the Sac-Joaquin Sections last week, was tied for the lead after 12 holes.
“After the 12th was when play got suspended. Then I had two bogeys to go two over,” he said. “(I hit the ball straight), but my putter just let me down.”
Elk Grove’s Spencer Levin fired a two-over-par 73 to take the win.
“That’s an amazing accomplishment. Of the 96 who made it to the finals, three of them were freshmen. And they shot a 76, 76, and a 77. So the quality of golf is incredible,” NU head coach Hank Davidson said.
“For him to make it to the finals as a freshman and finish 19th speaks a lot about his game. “If you play with him, you see just how good he is. He knows the game,” he added.
After a strong league season, Flores set his sights on the next level.
He blazed through the field in the Sac-Joaquin North Sub-Section at Yolo Fliers C.C. In Woodland to take second, then battled through four playoff holes in the section finals a week later to earn a tee time at Monarch Bay.
“I really didn’t expect (to get this far) before the season, but I had a lot of confidence. I know I could have done a lot better this year, but I still got to the NorCals,” he said.
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Hank Sowell’s introduction to the game of golf came early as a set of clubs was among the gifts he received on his very first birthday.