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Vaqueros making local course their new home

GCC will play at De Bell for their second season while Oakmont remains under revovation.

January 28, 2009|By Charles Rich

GLENDALE — Learning to construct a team on the fly can be challenging.

For Glendale Community College men’s golf Coach Greg Osbourne, it’s been exactly that and more.

Scanning the area, state and western portion of the country for qualified athletes, there’s been so much for Osbourne to consider since the Vaqueros finished last season — the program’s first since the program was scrapped because of budget cuts in 1985 — at 6-71 and eighth in the formidable Western State Conference.

Massive renovations around the clock took place at Oakmont Country Club, where the Vaqueros held most of their practices and hosted a conference match last season.

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The players have since been moved to De Bell Golf Club, so they can work on their long and short games to prepare for the upcoming campaign. They will use the local venue as their home course this season.

“I have to give credit to my players for being able to stick it out,” said Osbourne, a PGA member and head pro at De Bell. “With their attitudes, I really can’t ask for anything better than that.”

Despite all of the challenges, the Vaqueros are set to begin their new season at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Victor Valley College Invitational at Spring Valley Lake Country Club in Victorville. Glendale college opened last season by tying for 13th at the event played in frigid temperatures.

Osbourne said the Vaqueros should fare better, though the Vaqueros will field nine freshmen on their 10-player squad. He spent hours recruiting, which netted him three local athletes and players from Northern California, Arizona and Nevada to put the Vaqueros in position to challenge with perennial conference powerhouses Santa Barbara City College and College of the Canyons.

“Last year, we only had one sophomore,” said Osbourne, a former Glendale college golfer and football player. “It will be a great challenge for us this year.

“With our program, it’s about establishing yourself by attending school and keeping good grades so you can transfer. If you work hard, then you can move on to graduate from a four-year university.”

The Vaqueros will likely be led by freshman Chase Dontanville, a Burroughs High graduate. He will be flanked by sophomore Andrew Lepore and Crescenta Valley High graduate Michael McKinley. McKinley helped Crescenta Valley capture the Pacific League championship last season.

Also expected to be on the team are La Cañada High graduate Fletcher Sams, Taylor Schlom, Mark Cafagna, Aaron Pitts, Zachary Rispin, John Christopher, Roman Hernandez and Bellarmine- Jefferson graduate Andreas Hindoyan, who redshirted last season.

Finding the ideal lineup will be another large responsibility for Osbourne, who starred as a player at California Lutheran University.

“Golf is a unique sport,” Osbourne said. “Compare it to say baseball in that when you watch baseball, the pitcher is different than the catcher and so on.

“When you play nine holes in golf, you are essentially playing nine different positions. We want to be able to shoot for everything by being able to establish ourselves and present ourselves in the way we look, act and perform,” he said.

Glendale college will compete in a conference dual match against Citrus College at 11 a.m. Thursday at De Bell. The conference championship will be held April 27 at Santa Maria Country Club.


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