Nathan Mollat/Daily Journal
Jack Carlson, Carlmont’s No. 3 golfer, pumps his fist after draining a 55-foot putt. He later holed out from a greenside bunker for a birdie as the Scots beat Burlingame to all but wrap up the PAL Bay Division title at Poplar Creek Wednesday afternoon.
The Burlingame and Carlmont boys’ golf teams faced off at San Mateo’s Poplar Creek Golf Course with the Peninsula Athletic League Bay Division title on the line Tuesday.
The Panther came into the match with a perfect 9-0 mark in PAL play, with the Scots one game back — with their only loss coming to Burlingame by a stroke earlier in the season.
Burlingame went out and shot a season-best 193.
And it wasn’t even close. Carlmont put together an even better round with all five scoring golfers shooting round in the 30s to pull out a 184-193 win over the Panthers.
“It was the best round of the year for,” said Burlingame coach Steve Mills. “Just not good enough.”
With the victory, Carlmont (11-1 PAL) all but clinches the Bay Division title and an automatic team berth in the Central Coast Section tournament next month.
“We knew it was going to be close,” said Carlmont coach Johnny Hsu. “I think my guys really wanted it. They’ve been talking about [this match] all week.”
Jack Tilly and Mason Holman each fired 1-under 35s, Jack Carlson finished with a 2-over 37, Finnegan Tilly shot a 38 and Justin Chandra finished with a 39.
“I know my guys,” Hsu said. “They’re all talented golfers. I expect them to come in with these scores. They pulled through today.”
It’s not like Burlingame (9-1) played poorly. The Panthers had four golfers shoot under 40, led by Jeff Carney’s and Matt Teahan’s 2-over 37s. Shawn Chang and Andrew Longworth both fired 39s. Nick Teahan rounded out the scoring for Burlingame with a 41.
Both teams flourished under less-than-ideal conditions. Wind is a given at Poplar Creek and Wednesday was no exception. The other challenge the golfers had to deal with was the maintenance of the greens on the course, which were just sanded earlier in the day, making putting an adventure.
And talk about adventure. While he didn’t finish with his team’s best score, Carlmont’s Carlson definitely had the most exciting round. On the par-3 No. 3 hole, Carlson’s drive leaked out to the left and landed near the fringe on the left side of the green, leaving him about 55 feet for a birdie.
Carlson stepped up and stroked his putt. The ball hopped and skipped over the sand before disappearing into the cup, resulting in an extended fist-pumping session from Carlson.
“I was just trying to get it close. I’m not really a good putter,” Carlson said. “It totally helped my mindset (for the rest of the round). It gave me a lot of confidence.”
It was after Carlson’s putt that Mills knew his team might be in some trouble.
“My guys were rattled (by Carlson’s long putt). They just watched a draino from 55 feet on sanded greens. … Mentally, they got down after seeing a couple good shots (by Carlmont),” Mills said. “Credit Carlmont. They’re a good team. They shot lights out on bad greens.”
That confidence showed itself again on the short par-4 No. 7 hole. Carlson’s tee shot plugged itself into the face of a greenside bunker. His first attempt out of the sand was simply used to get a better lie and on his second attempt, he rattled the flag and dropped the ball in the cup from about 30 feet for another birdie.
“I had a great lie (on the third shot),” Carlson said. “Any time you hole out a bunker shot, it’s against the odds.”
While Carlson, the Scots’ No. 3 golfer, was making miraculous shots, their top two golfers — Jack Tilly and Mason Holman calmly went about their business. Both had only two holes where they shot five or more and Holman closed his nine-hole round by going birdie-birdie-birdie.