by David Tesitor
WALSENBURG-The John Mall Panthers have already played in three tournaments this past week and are discovering success. The Cats opened their season last Thursday in the league tournament held at Holydot Golf Club in Rye. They played in dominating fashion, beating the next closest team by twelve strokes. Sophomore Justin Eccher burned up the course with a five over par, 77. Eccher was the top player, taking home a first-place medal. Teammate Greg Bobian shot an 87 and Stephan Rodriquez came in with a 91 for a combined team score of 255.
On Friday, the Panthers went to the Fowler Invitational, and once again, captured the first-place trophy. Stephen Rodriquez was low man with an 81. Eccher was two strokes back with an 83. Freshman Brandon Garcia shot 110. The combined score was good enough to take first place. Coach Lee Vigil was pleased with the performance and said that his team committed very few errors.
On Monday, Aug. 17, the Panthers participated in the Lamar Invitational, playing against teams mostly from 3-4A schools. Perennial golfing powerhouse, Brighton, took the trophy. Pueblo West and Lamar finished ahead of the fifth-place Panthers. The Panthers shot as well as in their previous matches, but the depth of the teams in the tourney was too much to overcome. Rodriquez shot an 81, Eccher an 82 and Mike Maldonado shot a 99.
The Panthers will have a break until Aug. 24 when they will resume play. Given their performance on the tee box and greens, this team will continue to dominate their opponents. Their play against the larger schools proves that they can compete with anyone.