Vaqs welcome new class of talent

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GLENDALE — Shortly after last season concluded, Glendale Community College men's golf Coach Greg Osbourne made it a top priority to hit the recruiting trail.

Osbourne traveled to nearby courses searching for the next infusion of talent to help the Vaqueros challenge for a Western State Conference championship this season. Confident in the aftermath of securing a new group, Osbourne will find out right away how his newest class will fare.

"Right now, I'm so excited because this could be a very good year with the recruiting class that we have," said Osbourne, whose team will begin its season Monday in the Tee Off Classic at Los Serranos Country Club in Chino. "You are always trying to bring in the best group of players every year.

"Yes, we can have a real good team. They have been practicing well together and we know going in that our conference will again be incredibly tough."

Glendale will field a nine-member team, eight of those freshmen. The lone returner will be Brennan Amirkhizi, who earned all-conference accolades last season and advanced to the Southern California Regionals at the SCGA Course in Murrieta.

Amirkhizi, who carded a two-round score of 152 to place 26th at the regionals, will be counted on to lead the Vaqueros once again. He's accepted the challenge.

"I learned a lot last season and I know more about what to expect," Amirkhizi said. "We have a pretty solid team and it's committed.

"I'm going to try my best to get back to the regionals and hopefully beyond. I didn't know some of the courses we played on. I know them now and I think that will help me."

The freshmen group will consist of Crescenta Valley High graduate Michael Timpson, Jin Park of Burbank High, Chris Ramirez, Aaron Fernandez, Danny Fernandez, Phillip Gonzales, Vincent Lam and Josh Grossblatt. While many from that group excelled on the high school circuit, things figure to become more difficult at the collegiate level.

"We will know a lot more about our team after the first couple of matches," said Osbourne, whose team won the Tee Off Classic last season and placed fourth in conference. "Our goals are going to be to try to win state, and, if that doesn't happen, then come close to it.

"The only way to get to state is to do well in conference."

Osbourne, who also coaches the college's women's team and is a PGA Pro and the head pro at Chevy Chase Country Club in Glendale, said he's eager for his first-year players to break out the clubs and try to help the Vaqueros move north in the conference standings.

Timpson earned a spot on the All-Area team last season after he captured the Pacific League individual championship and advanced to the CIF Southern Section Northern Individual. Park was also named to the All-Area team after he placed fourth in the Pacific League tournament and was the lone Burbank-area golfer to qualify for the Northern Individual.

Ramirez won the City Section individual championship last season at Cleveland High in the San Fernando Valley. Danny Fernandez won a Valley 3 League individual title at Cleveland.

"It's a fantastic freshman class," said Osbourne, a former Glendale college golfer and football player. "We were a good team last year, but with the group we have brought in, I believe we should be able to lower our scores between 10-15 shots."

Glendale will compete in its first conference match Feb. 21 at the Alisal Ranch Golf Course in Solvang. The Vaqueros will host a conference match April 18 at Oakmont Country Club. The conference championship will take place April 25 at a venue to be determined.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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