By MYLO ERICKSON
The Pima Community College men’s golf team had its best performance this season at the Region 1 tournament at the Sidewinder Golf Course in Gold Canyon, Ariz., where they took second place.
With the second place victory Pima qualified for the NJCAA national tournament, which will be played in Newton, Kan., at the Sand Creek Station Golf Course on May 12-19.
Pima had another reason to celebrate, as freshman Joseph Courtney took first place overall as an individual.
“I put a lot of work in on my golf game and it paid off,” Courtney said. “I was just elated to come away with the win.”
The Aztecs started the regional tournament on April 26 in second place. They shot 310 as a team, which was 24 strokes behind first place.
Courtney finished his first day shooting two over par with a 73, which was good enough to tie him for third. First place was at 69.
Sophomore Adam Ortiz finished off the first day shooting six over par with a 77.
On the second day of the tournament, Pima stayed in second place while shooting a team score of 301.
The Aztecs shot a two-day total of 611, 36 strokes behind first place. The Aztecs were ahead of third-place Eastern Arizona College by eight strokes.
Courtney shot a three under par with a 68, which was enough for him to take sole possession of second place. He trailed first place by two strokes.
He was then one under par for the tournament with a two day total of 141.
On the third day of the tournament, the Aztecs were able to hold on to second place for the tournament.
Pima shot 303 as a team for the third day and were nine strokes ahead of third-place Eastern. Pima was 48 strokes behind first-place Scottsdale Community College.
Courtney took the lead for individuals on the third day after shooting an even par with a 71. He led the second-place individual by two strokes.
He had a three-day total of 212 at that point.
Pima had its best day on the fourth day of the tournament, shooting a team total of 299 for the day, giving them a four day total of 1,213 as a team.
Courtney locked up first place individually when he birdied both the 17th and 18th holes to finish off the final day one over par with a 72.
That put him at even par for the four-day tournament with a total of 284.
“He finally put it all together,” head coach Grant Waltke said.
The Aztecs also received a great day from freshman Austin Stuessel, who also shot a one over par with a 72.
Pima will now continue its season in the NJCAA national tournament on May 12-19.
Courtney, Ortiz, Stuessel, and freshmen Landyn Lewis and Jonathan Chong Jr. will attend.
“The guys are anxious to get to nationals, to see what they can do,” Waltke said.
He hopes they finish in the top 10.