If there is such a thing as a good problem, Nogales High golf coach David Jimenez has it.
Despite not losing a single golfer from last season’s squad—which is good—he does have about 25 total athletes coming out for the 2012 season—which could be bad.
Okay, not bad, but it does promise to make his cut to the squad’s final eight spots a much more difficult process than in recent years, or ever, in the program’s history.
Fortunately for Jimenez, though, Frankie Sainz, German Guayante and Marco Sesteaga—all seniors who battled back-and-forth for the No. 1 spot last season—plan to make his top three choices no-brainers.
Then, there’s junior Cris Sesteaga and senior Sonny Alcaraz, who were also in the starting top five last season, plus senior Mikey Castillo, junior Ricky Calixtro and sophomore Rosendo Flores, who played sparingly in 2011.
Jimenez, though, said even the frontrunners’ spots—including the seniors—aren’t safe, just like no one’s spot will be safe all season long.
“I plan on putting more pressure on my top three players and putting more accountability on their side, if they don’t shoot what they’re supposed to shoot,” he said. “If they shoot a 45, I’m going to bench them. I don’t care if mom gets mad or dad gets (upset); ‘how come he’s not playing? He’s you’re top player.’ You’ve got to prove it every week. If you want to go to state, you’ve got to show me you want to go to state.”
Before they get to state in late October, though, the Apaches are slated to start the regular season Aug. 28 versus Sunnyside at Kino Springs Golf Course, their home course. After that, they head to Randolph in Tucson on Aug. 30 to face Salpointe; both at 3 p.m. Because of other employment obligations, Jimenez wasn’t able to start tryouts until Thursday, forcing him to run tryouts through Aug. 31, when he will have to choose his final eight on the roster and top five for competition. For Nogales’ first two matches, though, he will use his top five at the time.
Regardless of who makes the cut, though, one thing is for sure: the Apaches’ goal in 2012 is qualifying for state—individually and as a team—something that didn’t happen last season, with the qualifying standards becoming tougher; a 2-over the course rate on five separate occasion.
“The pressure gets to them,” Jimenez said. “They’re doing so fine, and then in the last two or three holes … it all goes down the hill.”
“I just need to concentrate more on the game,” German said. “I need better putts and a better swing … and I need to be more consistent with my scores. Since I’ve been playing in the summer, I’m pretty confident, but I don’t want to sound cocky.”
Sainz also doesn’t want to sound cocky, despite also playing a lot of golf in the offseason—including a first place finish in this summer’s Alex Bermudez Memorial and a sixth in the Border Shootout—something he hopes will be a key to success in the high school season.
“I know I say that I get better every year, but this year, no joke,” he said. “Now I’m shooting in the low 70s (on 18 holes, not 9 like in high school). You just have to face the pressure.
“This year, we really have to make something happen—especially German, myself and Marco,” he added about Marco Sesteaga, who has been working on his game—mostly driving and chipping—as well.
“I think these guys have been practicing all summer … so think we’ll have a good team,” Sesteaga said. “They’ve gotten better that’s for sure. I think we’re going to have a solid team.”
“It’s all mental,” he added. “We thought about the scores too much last year, which we shouldn’t have done. We should just play without thinking of the score … and do better.”