GLENDALE — Glendale Community College women's golf Coach Greg Osbourne wanted to plan ahead, believing that the Vaqueros were on the brink of potentially winning a first-ever Western State Conference match this season.
So, Osbourne opted to take his four-member team to Marshall Canyon Golf Course in La Verne for a recent practice round so they would be familiar and prepared for Monday's conference match. Osbourne's hunch, along with a steady performance from the program's top player, paid major dividends.
Tammy Panich notched medalist honors as she carded a school-record two-under-par 71 to lead Glendale to a tie for first with state powerhouse College of the Canyons — its best conference finish in program history.
The Vaqueros, who finished with a 327 in the five-team event, visited the course Friday for a practice round and the extra time spent at Marshall Canyon helped pave the way. Panich, a Glendale High graduate, birdied her last four holes to win by six strokes.
"It's the program's finest moment," said Osbourne, who got an 84 from Louise Wright, an 85 from Imelda Treto and an 87 from Diana Hernandez. "We made time for that practice round and we made an effort to get there and show what we are capable of doing by putting in more time.
"It's a huge moment for the program — men and women — and we were able to see Tammy separate herself to take the lead. Anytime you have that opportunity and you can make a statement, you do it and she did."
Panich, a sophomore who transferred from Cal State Northridge, appears to be back at full speed after undergoing an appendectomy a week before the season began in late-August. On Monday, she finished with eight pars and four bogeys, but she birdied holes 15 through 18 to cap her finest moment with the Vaqueros.
"I just went out there and took every shot one by one, and my putting was mostly on," said Panich, a former All-Area member. "I was even through nine holes and I got a little angry with myself after I bogeyed the 14th that put me two over.
"I got to the 15th hole and made a short putt for birdie and did the same thing on 16. I two-putted for birdie on 17 and then I went with my rhythm and made a seven-foot putt on 18. Everybody played real well for us. We've never had a chance like that because we only have four players. It's amazing."
Santa Barbara finished second with 335, followed by Bakersfield (342) and Citrus (score not available).
The Vaqueros will next compete in another conference match Monday at Robinson Ranch Golf Club in the Santa Clarita Valley.