Austin Smotherman said his clutch approach shot on his 17th hole "won me the tournament."

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Granite Bay, Smotherman pull off rare feat

Published: Thursday, Jun. 7, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 2C
Last Modified: Thursday, Jun. 7, 2012 - 6:33 pm

The Granite Bay High School boys golf team and Del Oro's Austin Smotherman did something Wednesday that's been done only once – and that was three decades ago.

They brought team and individual state golf titles to Sacramento.

Granite Bay, third in the Northern California championship two weeks ago, pulled a major upset by beating Foothill-Pleasanton by two shots at San Gabriel Country Club. Robert Louis Stevenson of Pebble Beach was third – the first time NorCal schools swept the top three spots in the six-team field.

Smotherman shot a 4-under-par 67 to beat Beau Hossler Jr. of Santa Margarita by one shot.

The Grizzlies weren't spectacular – they didn't have a player in the top eight – but they were solid up and down their lineup. Freshman Jeffrey Inouye-Wong shot a 72 to lead Granite Bay. Junior Brandon Baumgarten (73), junior Chuck Pedrone (74), senior Alex Gibbs (76) and junior Bryan Wise (79) also scored for Granite Bay.

"Our guys just kept grinding," said Terry Stafford, Granite Bay's coach. "It was an amazing day."

Stafford took the Grizzlies to a tournament in Palm Springs over spring break in which they finished 15th out of 32. While the team didn't look like a state title contender then, Stafford said his players used the result as a challenge to get better.

No Granite Bay player has been better recently than Inouye-Wong.

"Every score of his has been better than the last for about a month," Stafford said.

Del Campo won the state title in 1977 during a six-year span from 1976 to 1981 when one team from the south and north played off. Granite Bay's win is the first for the Sacramento area since the six-team format was introduced in 2004.

Smotherman, fourth in the state tournament last year as a junior, made five birdies and one bogey. After getting word that his bogey on his 16th hole (No. 7 since he started on the back nine) dropped him a shot behind, he responded by sticking his approach on the next hole within 18 inches.

"That shot won me the tournament," Smotherman said. His resulting birdie closed the deal.

Ponderosa junior Corey Pereira (71) tied for sixth, while Christian Brothers junior Andrej Bevins and Del Oro junior Justin Raskin shot 77s to tie for 26th.

Murray Stoltz of Jesuit won the individual state title in 1979.

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