Teeing up in Modesto today a pair of Santa Rosa Junior College women are swinging for the school's newest team.
Former All-Empire prep player Abby Sortino and first-timer Carla Torres are blazing the trail for SRJC women's golf. Competing in the very challenging Big 8 Conference, the pair has steadily improved scores and worked off the course to promote the team.
“We're just like trying to have fun and just making sure we can have a team next year,” Sortino said. “I'm actually really excited about it.”
Currently a club sport, SRJC women's golf needs another 10 players to field a full-fledged team and develop players. Sortino, Torres and coach Derek Felciano are confident they can bolster the program with players on campus and from the high school ranks.
“We're doing a lot of outreach. I think it will be a good team next year,” Torres said.
While SRJC has an established and very good men's golf program, women's golf originated just this past summer. More girls would have played this season, but class scheduling conflicts prevented several from having the time.
More recruiting and better organization should help the team grow, said Felciano, a teaching pro at Bennett Valley Golf Course.
“The numbers are there. Our high schools have a lot of players,” he said. “We need to try to develop some players to play enough quality golf to compete and move on to fouryear programs.”
Practice and work with Felciano has helped both Sortino and Torres compete in one of the best community college conferences in state.
The college game is a major step up even for an All-Empire prep player such as Sortino, from Analy High.
“There's some really good golfers. At the end of a match you're really proud of yourself,” Sortino said. “It makes you want to practice more. It makes you want to get better.”
A steep learning curve and high scores in the beginning did not discourage Torres. A soccer player at San Rafael High, Torres took up golf for the first time this summer.