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River Oaks junior golf draws more participants
The River Oaks Junior Golf Program experienced a spike in enrollment this summer.

"We're up 25 percent," general manager Michael Phipps said. "I think we promoted it a little better. We also shrunk class sizes and added more instructors that way the kids get more attention."

A total of 200 boys and girls, aged 7-17, signed up. Sessions were offered in June and July.

The end-of-year tournament was held on Friday, Aug. 6.

Gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded to the top 3 finishers in each age group. The competition featured 77 players.

Tyler Story won the 14-to-17-year-old championship with a 6-over-par 36 on the back nine course.

Derek Butz (40) and Jesus Ramos (43) placed second and third, respectively.

Steven McKiernan (44), Meghan Keating (49), Zach Vannest (50), Walter Sorenson (57) and Jonathan Chang (61) also competed.

Chinmay Joshi fired a 2-over-par 27 on the front nine course en route to claiming low-medalist honors in the 10-to-13-year-old flight.

Pranay Arora (34) and Gregory Jalli (37) won silver and bronze, respectively.

Garrett Ingle (37), Kyler Aqueche (38), Hunter DeBruin (40), Joseph La Rosa (41), Jacob Sammuli (41), Brannon Bauman (42), Joseph McKiernan (42), James Cervantez (42), Dylan Cummings (42), Hector Valdez (42), Joshua Lesan (43), Dakota Estabrook (43), Will Fiveash (43), Matthew Bomgardner (44), Jack Vinson (45), Mary Oliveira (45), Eric Jalli (48), Jacob deBos (48), Marcus Erickson (48), Michaela deBos (49), Jake Nevarez (50), Morgan Lesan (51), River Henderson (51), Hagan O'Brien (51), Isaac Cruz (54), Evrytte Monahan (69) and Shelbie Henson (70) participated as well.

When asked what he enjoyed most about the River Oaks Jr. Golf Program, Jake Nevarez said: "You get to meet a lot of people and it's for fun."

Kendall La Rosa (27), Austin Pena (27) and Julian Silva (28) took first, second and third, respectively, in the 7-9 age group.

Philip Hensley (29), Bailey Showen (29), Gabriel Naton (29), Megan Olveira (29), Chase Fiveash (29), Jordan Finn (30), Noah Johnson (30), Olivia Fiveash (30), Connor Flud (31), Cooper Ulrich (32), Cade Countryman (32), Jaden Borba (33), Caleb Thornhill (35), Raeann Davis (35), Annika Lightfoot (35), Jazmyn Tubbs (35), Briannah McNertney (35), Shannon McNertny (35), Kiara Flores (35), Ryan Wheatley (35), Colton Curlis (38), Ashton Pena (38), Joel Silva (39), Taylor Smith (41) and Madilynn VanMater (41) made up the rest of the 28-person field.

La Rosa and Co. competed on the first five holes.

"We saw an ad in the paper and asked him if he wanted to do it," stated Ann Pena, Austin's mother. "He said yes. The instructors have been extremely helpful."

Austin placed second for the second year in a row.

"I like hitting the ball far and learning from my mistakes," he said.

The River Oaks Jr. Golf Program was co-founded by Rob Phipps 17 years ago.

Michael has filled in as general manager of the club since the death of his younger brother.

Rob passed away in December of 2007 from heart failure.