Confident in their golf skills, Ceres High’s Erik Hott and Central Valley’s Matteo Bonales welcomed the challenge of competing at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament last month in Stockton.
The two seniors failed in their quest to secure individual berths to the CIF Northern California Championships, ending their prep athletic careers.
“I was comfortable because I knew other players,” Bonales said. “I just didn’t play as good as I would have liked to.”
“Going into Masters, I knew a lot of the guys from tournament golf,” Hott said. “I didn’t feel much pressure. The stakes were high. I knew I had to shoot a pretty good round to advance. Sadly, it wasn’t the day I was hoping for. Overall, I had fun.”
Hott missed qualifying for NorCals by five strokes as he fired a 5-over-par 76 at Elkhorn Golf Club on May 16.
“It’s a respectable score,” he said. “It felt like I was shooting 15 over. It was a struggle. I had to scramble the entire time.”
“Advancing that far was pretty cool,” Hott added.
Bonales shot an 82.
“I wasn’t happy with how I performed,” said Bonales, who carded a 71 while taking first at the Ty Caplin Memorial at Elkhorn two years ago. “I struggled putting. Besides that, everything else was fine.”
Bonales didn’t reach his full potential at Central Valley as he played just two full seasons of golf.
His junior and sophomore years were cut short due to COVID-19.
“High school golf went by really quick,” Bonales said. “Two of the years, we didn’t play because of the pandemic. Looking back, I wish we played more seasons. I would have made it further.”
Bonales won a five-man sudden-death playoff for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III Tournament’s sixth-and-final individual qualifying spot to Masters this year.
He earned first-team all-Central California Conference honors.
Bonales was named Most Valuable Player of the WAC South Division as a junior. He posted a 7-1 record in conference play.
Bonales placed third at the Central California Conference Championships as a freshman. He was second at the CCC Midseason Tournament. Bonales won eight of 12 matches during the league dual season. He finished eighth at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III Tournament, just missing the cut for Masters.
“I had a positive career,” said Bonales, who’s considering trying out for the Cal Poly golf team. “I did as good as I could with what I was given.”
A transfer from Central Valley Christian Academy, Hott joined Ceres High’s boys golf team during his junior year.
He placed first at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV Tournament this season.
He secured an individual berth to Divisionals after posting a score of 12-over-par 84 at the WAC Championships.
He earned first-team all-conference honors.
Hott was named to the WAC South First Team as a junior. He compiled a 7-1 record against league competition.
“I really enjoyed high school golf,” Hott said. “I loved every moment. It’s sad knowing it’s over. Overall, I’m pretty happy. I got a few highlights. I wish I got to play a little longer. Golf is a tricky sport. You can always look back and say you could have done better.”