Carson in ninth place after first round of Dick Stoddard Memorial Golf Tournament, Eureka leads the pack |

Carson in ninth place after first round of Dick Stoddard Memorial Golf Tournament, Eureka leads the pack

Jeremy Evans

It doesn’t look good for the Carson High golf team to repeat as champions in their own tournament. Carson is in ninth place out of 18 teams after shooting a 385 in the first round of the 10th annual Dick Stoddard Memorial Tournament on the east course at Eagle Valley on Wednesday.

The Senators are 11 shots back of current leaders Eureka, Calif., who shot a first-round 364. Carson won it all last year after finishing with a two-day total of 791. Still, coach Paul Croghan couldn’t be happier about how his team performed.

“I’m real happy with our score,” Croghan said. “I told our kids before their rounds that if we can break 400 I’d be happy. Our previous best on that course was a 391, so that’s a good sign. That’s a significant improvement.”

Carson’s Steven McQuirk shot an ever par 72, putting him in a seven-way tie for fourth place overall. Current leader Jonathan Sapper of Fortuna, Calif., shot a 3-under 69. Sapper has a two-stroke lead over Berkeley’s Chris Moreno-Hunt and Eureka’s Tony Slade, who both shot 71s on Wednesday, heading into today’s final round on the west course at Eagle Valley. Eureka has three golfers in the top 10.

Out of 112 players, 57 players finished in the 70s and 45 others had scores in the 80s. But look for much higher scores today on the west course, a tighter track equipped with more hazards than the wide-open east course.

“I don’t think they (Eureka) will score a 364 again, but a 380 would be about right,” Croghan said. “The west course is about 3-5 strokes higher per player (than the east). I don’t think we’ll have as many 70s tomorrow, but if you can shoot in the low 70s on the east course, then you’ll still probably shoot somewhere in the 70s on the west.”

Eureka, Bishop O’Dowd, and Liberty had all six players shoot in the 70s and, not surprisingly, that’s the how top three teams rank on the leader board. Carson would probably have to do the same today to have a remote chance at back-to-back titles. That might be asking too much, though.

“If we can shoot a 410 on the west course, that would be a mighty good day,” Croghan said. “But it might get a little windy in the morning, so who knows.”

Some outstanding players have participated in the tournament since its first year at Dayton Valley. Carson’s T.J. Duncan, who played at the University of Oregon, is a tournament alumnus, as is Fresno State’s No. 1 golfer, junior Nick Watney. Watner played at Davis High, which is currently in a three-way tie for third place at 379.

And although not considered alumni yet, Galena senior Bryson Young, who became the youngest player ever to qualify for the Reno-Tahoe Open last August, won the individual title as a junior. The Grizzlies sent their second team to the tournament and are currently in 12th place after shooting a 403. Galena’s Steven Kafchinski is one of those seven players in fourth place at 72. Douglas is in last place after finishing with a first-round total of 426.

“We’ve always had a good field,” Croghan said. “Obviously, we couldn’t do this without them (Eagle Valley). It’s an ideal situation, having the two courses in one location. For many years, we would play one round at one course and the other round at another. This makes it really convenient. It doesn’t happen all that often (a course being so cooperative).”

Today’s final round starts at 8 a.m.