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story.lead_photo.caption Democrat photo/Kevin LabotkaThe California boys golf team season starts at 4 p.m. March 30 with their match at Tipton.

Young team members stepping up will be key in the California boys golf team's coming season.

Last season, the California Pintos boys golf team finished in second place in the Class 2 District 4 match with a score of 376 — Eldon won the district with a score of 353. The Pintos then finished in seventh place out of eight teams in the Class 2 boys championship with a score of 735.

The team is getting ready for the upcoming year without several of last year's key players. Even with losing key pieces, head coach Doug Miller said he has high hopes for the Pintos this year. Miller said he thinks a realistic goal for the team would be to finish top three in state.

"I would like to say that we are going to be better than that, but I've got some unknowns," Miller said. "If they step it up, we could finish in the top two, but I say that realistically. If we are in the top three, I won't be unhappy."

With these expectations in mind, Miller said he was a little disappointed in the amount of golf the players played in the summer in preparation for this season.

In terms of what strengths his players have entering the season, Miller said the younger players have a pretty solid long game but will have to work on their short game. Another skill the team needs to focus on is thinking their way around the golf course, Miller said

"Putting themselves in position to use their short games," Miller said. "Off the tee blocks, using the right clubs, getting it on the fairway and not having to scramble every time. Make the game a little easier, so being able to mentally think themselves around the course instead of just using physical abilities and beating the ball out there."

For the early parts of the season, there are some open spots on the varsity team. Miller said he is looking to see which of the younger Pintos has the ability to focus and grind to get those spots.

"There are probably five guys that are really close," Miller said. "So I am anxious to see these first couple of matches to see who really wants it."

The team's first match is at 4 p.m March 30 at Tipton.

California Pintos boys golf schedule

March 30

at Tipton, 4 p.m.

March 31

vs. Eldon, Warsaw and Osage at Osage National Golf Course, 4 p.m.

April 1

at Russellville golf tournament at Redfield Country Club, 9 a.m.

April 2

at Boonville tournament at Boonville, 9 a.m.

April 3

JV at Boonville, 9 a.m.

April 7

vs. Fatima, 4 p.m.

April 8

vs. Capital City, 4 p.m

April 10

at Jefferson City High School, 4 p.m

April 13

at Osage at Osage National Golf Course, 4 p.m.

April 15

at Southern Boone Classic at Eagle Knoll, 9 a.m.

April 20

at Centralia Invitational at Centralia Country Club, 9 a.m.

April 23

at Centralia Quad at Old Hawthrone Golf Course, 1 p.m.

April 29

at Tri-County Conference at Blair Oaks, 9 a.m.

April 30

at Eldon, 4 p.m.

May 4-6

at Class 2 District 4 tournament at Buffalo Kare Kjar Golf Course, TBA

May 11

at Sectionals at TBA, 9 a.m.

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