By Robbie Loeb
Up-and-comer Bakari Bolden ’14 and graduating star Charlie Benell ’12 were the only members of the boys’ golf team to qualify for the postseason, but neither could complete their run to state.
Bolden shot the round of his life on May 2, a 5-under 67, to win the Mission League Individuals and take home Mission League MVP honors.
In Bolden’s league-winning round, he stood 3-under before bogeying on the 13th hole. He recovered with birdies on four of the final five holes to win the tournament by a single stroke.
“I’m excited to see what else I can do in two more years,” Bolden said.
Benell posted an even par for the round at league finals to take seventh place. With their strong performances at the league round of Individuals, Benell and Bolden advanced to CIF Individuals.
In the first round of CIF Individuals on May 14, Bolden was eliminated after shooting a 9-over 81, while Benell advanced with a 72.
Benell got off to a terrible start in the May 21 second round of CIF Individuals at Victoria Country Club, he said, after bogeying four of the first five holes.
He picked himself up and shot 1-under for the remainder of the round to stay alive.
Benell finished with a 75, which was one stroke behind the cutoff to advance, but because twenty-seven golfers shot 74 or under in the round, and there were 28 spots in State Qualifiers, the 11 golfers who shot 75 entered a sudden death playoff to compete for the final spot in the next round.
In the playoff, each golfer with the lowest score on each hole advances to the next hole. Five golfers, including Benell, advanced past the first playoff hole after shooting par.
On hole two, Benell’s par was bested by a playoff-winning birdie and he was eliminated from CIF two rounds shy of State Finals.
“I’m a little disappointed,” Benell said. “I should’ve made it farther, but I’m proud of the way I played this year.”
Despite his departure to Texas A&M, Benell has confidence that next year’s squad has potential under Bolden’s leadership.
“I think the team next year has potential to go as far as we’ve ever gone,” Benell said. “We had a great year, and we had a lot of kids step up. Bakari’s going to be a great leader next year and has unlimited potential.”