Sophomore Chris Ellis set forth three goals before the start of
his second season with the Gavilan College men
’s golf team – and his round of 73 in Monday’s conference meet
at Eagle Ridge Golf Course has him already on track to accomplish
the first. Coming into the seven-team tournament on the Rams’ home
course, Ellis sat in third place in the conference standings – but
his solid score amidst some
chilly, wet conditions lifted him to the top.
Sophomore Chris Ellis set forth three goals before the start of his second season with the Gavilan College men’s golf team – and his round of 73 in Monday’s conference meet at Eagle Ridge Golf Course has him already on track to accomplish the first.
Coming into the seven-team tournament on the Rams’ home course, Ellis sat in third place in the conference standings – but his solid score amidst some chilly, wet conditions lifted him to the top.
“I played OK. I doubled on 17. I was one-under going into the back nine,” said Ellis, immediately following the 18-hole tournament. “But I think the scores are going to be real high today with these conditions.”
The sun was shining with cool temperatures at the noon start – but, by the time he made his turn, winds blew in cloud cover and rain began to fall from the sky.
“It was so beautiful early on the front nine,” said Ellis, who was confident playing on the difficult Eagle Ridge layout. “It’s a huge advantage (to have played here a lot)… My goal coming in was to run away with it. I want to be No. 1 in the conference and this might do it for me. So it’s a huge advantage.”
Ellis, a Live Oak grad, has been the Gavilan golf team’s top golfer since the program’s inception last season – under the direction of head coach Scott Krause, the Head Professional at Eagle Ridge.
“He’s real strong. He has the natural ability. His head doesn’t get in his way. He’s about as good as you find out there,” said Krause of Ellis. “When you get to a certain level, it’s how well you can stay composed.”
Ellis does not get flustered easily.
The sophomore sank three birdies on the day at the eighth, 13th and 15th holes before doubling up on the 17th.
“I’ve got some things to work on putting-wise, but my ball striking is as good as it gets,” Ellis said. “I had three major goals for this season. I want to be the conference champ in scoring. I’d like to win NorCals and then finish top-five in state. With the way I’m playing right now, I can definitely do it.”
Last season, Ellis shook off a late start to his freshman campaign and gave Gavilan golf a state qualifier in its first year.
“Last year, I finished third in NorCal and did well at state so that helped my confidence coming into this year,” Ellis said. “But there are a lot of good teams in our conference.”
Chris’ older brother John Ellis is playing golf in his senior year at Oregon and is a top 25 amateur. John Ellis also attended Gavilan College.
The Rams are floating in the middle of the conference standings – but they beat both DeAnza, which is expected to drop its golf program due to budget cuts after this year, and Foothill in their last tournament.
“They all work hard,” said Krause of his 12-player team that includes freshman Joe Bently and sophomore Brad Nagareda. “Last week, we beat the other two schools we played. They stepped up. Everyone was in the low 80s.”
Gavilan will play in the Chabot Tournament on April 21 and then the Monterey Peninsula Tournament on April 28 to decide the conference winners. After that, the NorCal Tournament is scheduled for May 5 at Gold Hills CC and the State Tournament is May 12 at Kings River CC.