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Golf season over for local squads at NCS tournament

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The golf season ended Wednesday for all but one North Bay prep golfer, as Cardinal Newman’s two individual golfers, as well as Napa High’s team, failed to advance out of the North Coast Section Division 1 tournament. Ukiah High, which qualified to compete as a team by virtue of winning the North Bay League-Oak Division title, and Cardinal Newman freshman Lillie Dayton did not compete Wednesday in the wake of the still-burning Kincade fire.

The tournament was originally scheduled for Monday at Foxtail Golf Club in Rohnert Park, but the fire — and subsequent evacuations and compromised air quality — prompted section officials to both postpone the competition and change the location. It was played at Lone Tree Golf Course in Antioch.

It was a move that more than doubled Ukiah’s one-way travel time for a noon start and made competing nearly impossible because of transportation hurdles alone, said Ukiah coach Katy Selzer.

“I was totally prepared to drive an hour both ways and was very excited about it,” she said. “I was very disappointed they moved it out of our area, to rush it.”

Without district transportation, Selzer said the Wildcats had to pull out.

“We were kind of locked in,” she said. “It’s just a shame.”

Cardinal Newman junior Abby Leighton shot a 76, one stroke off the cut, while freshman Gabby Sinatra shot an 86. Dayton’s family was evacuated from their Geyserville home because of the fire and she opted out of the tournament, Cardinals coach T.J. McMahon said.

“This was difficult for our girls to compete under the conditions,” McMahon said. Cardinal Newman, like the majority of Sonoma County schools, canceled classes all this week. McMahon, too, was evacuated from his home until Wednesday afternoon.

With a bevy of talented freshmen on the roster, along with Leighton, a junior, and her sister, Tori Leighton, a sophomore, McMahon said he is likely to petition the section to have the Cardinals play Division 1 next season. Under that plan, the team could not defend its Division 2 section title, but would advance the whole team to the Division 1 tournament.

From the Vine Valley Athletic League, American Canyon’s Katie Robinson advanced after winning a tiebreaker playoff. The NorCal Championship will take place Monday at El Macero Country Club near Davis.

You can reach staff columnist Kerry Benefield at 707-526-8671 or kerry.benefield@pressdemocrat.com, on Twitter @benefield and on Instagram at kerry.benefield. Podcasting on iTunes and SoundCloud, “Overtime with Kerry Benefield.”

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