By JAIME HERNANDEZ
Golf season is finally here, and the Pima Community College men’s and women’s teams are ready to get out on the links.
The men’s squad wants to improve on a second-place finish at regionals last year, along with a fourth-place ACCAC showing.
“We have a darn good team,” head coach Grant Waltke said. “We have a chance to win it all — regionals and conference.”
The Aztecs are led by sophomore Joseph Courtney. Newcomers to keep an eye on are freshmen James Cooper, Henry Cunningham and David Chung.
Sophomore Landyn Lewis may be the most improved player.
Waltke credits Lewis’ concentration. “It’s amazing what you can do when you put some practice in,” he said.
PCC opened its season Feb. 4-5 in a six-team tournament in Sun City, finishing fourth with a team score of 589. South Mountain Community College took first, totaling 556 strokes.
Courtney finished at an even-par 144 over the two days, good enough to tie for seventh position.
Cooper came in 12th with a 146. Cunningham shot 149, Lewis had 153, sophomore Sean Mullen finished at 154 and sophomore Austin Stuessel had 158.
This will be Waltke’s final year coaching the Aztecs.
“Twenty-three years — I figure at 71 years of age, it’s time to pass it on to someone else,” he said.
Head women’s coach Bill Nichol is also feeling optimistic.
“I’m looking forward to a real good year,” Nichol said. “We’ll find out how we stack up, but we have some very solid players.”
With four golfers on the squad, the women can also look forward to qualifying for a team score at this year’s meets, unlike last year. Four is the minimum to qualify for a team score.
Sophomores Shelby Empens and Abriana Romero return to anchor the squad.
“They’re both extremely solid players,” Nichol said.
The newcomers are freshmen Brittney Makar and Josie Trapnell.
Nichol said Makar hits a “good, long ball.” Trapnell is a nontraditional student returning to school to get her coaching certificate.
Feb. 11-12: @ South Mountain CC (Laveen, Ariz.)
Feb. 18-19: @ South Mountain CC (Laveen, Ariz.)