GLENDALE — The Glendale Community College men's golf team recently braved the hot weather and ignored the escalating gas prices to take a 130-mile trip to Bermuda Dunes.
The Vaqueros' visit to the Coachella Valley came with a purpose — play a practice round at upscale Bermuda Dunes Country Club to prepare them for the 36-hole Southern California Regionals, which will be held at the venue Monday.
There's plenty at stake for Glendale college, which will seek to move on to the California Community College Athletic Assn. Men's Golf Championship, which will be take place May 16 at Kings Country Club in Hanford. The top four teams and six individuals from Monday's competition will qualify for the state tournament.
"I'm glad we made the trip down there because it helps us become that much more familiar with the course," said Glendale college Coach Greg Osbourne, whose team finished second in the competitive Western State Conference. "It's a long course and you generally have to keep the ball on the fairways straight off the tee.
"It looks wider than it really is. The greens are a little more difficult than most courses and it can be tough to get a read on the greens. Practice rounds are very important, even if it's just from a confidence factor.
"If we had gone down there the day before the regionals, then we wouldn't have a chance. The more you can see of it, the better off you are."
The Vaqueros enter Monday's round playing their best golf of the season. They won their first conference match on April 18 at Oakmont Country Club and then took second in the conference tournament on April 25 at Los Serranos Country Club's South Course in Chino Hills.
Osbourne said the Vaqueros couldn't have selected a better time to peak.
"We wanted to make it to regionals and we think we can get to state," Osbourne said. "We have an opportunity to do something that no other GCC men's golf team has done and that's qualify for state.
"We know that anything can happen. This should be a fun time and it can be."
Most of the Vaqueros are freshmen, but they have been led by sophomore Brennan Amirkhizi.
Amirkhizi, a two-time all-conference selection, took part in the regionals last season as an individual.
"We are playing very well right now and it's going to be great for us to compete as a team," Amirkhizi said. "You want to take each round seriously."
Osbourne said he's anticipating for the weather to be warm with a late-afternoon wind possibly having an effect on the second round.
"The temperatures will be hot, so the guys are going to have to drink a lot of water," Osbourne said.