Mon07282014

Sports

Golfer Buchanan bound for state tourney


Photo By: Courtesy of David Buchanan
Photo Courtesy Of David Buchanan

Andrew Buchanan of Los Altos Hills tied for fourth at last week’s Northern California boys golf championships in Patterson.

There are days when an even-par round leaves a competitive golfer feeling less than satisfied. May 20 wasn’t one of those days for Andrew Buchanan.

“I was happy to get even par,” said the Los Altos Hills resident, who shot a 72 to finish tied for fourth at last week’s Northern California Boys Golf Championships in Patterson. “It was really windy.”

Those winds – which Buchanan estimated at 20-25 mph – made the rigorous Ranch Course at Diablo Grande Golf & Country Club even more challenging.

Soon after teeing off, Buchanan realized it wasn’t going to be a day of record-low rounds for those in the 96-player field, and the Menlo School senior adjusted his expectations accordingly.

“I just tried to keep it around par for most of the day to move on (to state),” he said. “I thought that making par in those windy conditions would probably do it.”

Buchanan was right. He finished only four shots behind winner Ryan Maund of Foothill High and easily advanced to the state championships. The top nine individuals – along with the first-, second- and third-place teams – qualified for state, scheduled June 5 at Quail Lodge & Golf Club in Carmel.

“I don’t know the course, but I know the field will be really strong,” said Buchanan, bound for Southern Methodist University in the fall. “It will be a fun day.”

The Quail course is significantly shorter than the one Buchanan played at Diablo Grande, which he described as “short and skinny off the tee.” Tee shots that strayed too far left or right often landed in high weeds.

“I lost two balls in the hazards, which led to bogeys,” said Buchanan, who had as many bogeys (four) as birdies and made par on the other 10 holes. “It was tough off the tee, but the rest of the course was pretty manageable.”

The winds were not, however, making drives more of an adventure. Putting proved crucial, and Buchanan sank some long ones early. He drained a 15-foot birdie putt and a 12-footer for par.

“It was nice to putt well early on,” said Buchanan, who birdied two of his first three holes and was 1-under par at the turn. “It gives you confidence and you don’t second-guess yourself later on.”

Buchanan, who had one of the earliest tee times, capped his round by draining a 10-foot putt for par.

“Not making worse than par was really big,” he said. “By staying even, I knew I would make it to state without worrying. It was really comforting and I got to enjoy my lunch.”

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