In the early weekend hours before departing for the Sonoma County Amateur Golf Championship held at the Foxtail Golf Club in Rohnert Park on Saturday, May 19, Luis Diaz, collected his clubs and got ready for the day.
His six-year-old son, Luis Enrique, stopped his father at the door with a big hug and told him, “Papa. Focus.”
“It was so weird,” Diaz said. “Every hole I was thinking about what my son said. I made a big mistake on number 12 and after I hit that shot I said, ‘I’m sorry for disappointing you.’ I was distracted.”
Yet despite his mistake, Diaz managed to pull things together and take home the Sonoma County Amateur Golf Championship title. Seizing the first place title was no small feat in a division clogged with 40 total players. Corri Ghiringhelli, scored second and Clayton Farris, scored third following close behind.
“You’re here to win. There’s a time to play it leisurely and not care, and there’s a time to buckle down and make it work,” Farris said. “In this level of golf, the margin between par and six over par is so small that it’s just simple mistakes.”
Farris’ views might seem extreme, but he was hardly in the minority.
Ghiringhelli leaned back in his lawn chair after the competition and watched the golfers at the Foxtail driving range. “Little things can add up. Yesterday I shot seventy-one and felt fantastic, and then I come out here today and got beat up.”
The two-day tournament kicked off Saturday with bright summer sunshine and rolling green hills. In many ways it was the perfect day for golf. The wind was light, the air was neither too hot nor too cold and the sharp crack of club against ball echoed across Rohnert Park.
But while the urgent drumbeat of competition went on, there was also a detached appreciation for both the sport and the day.
“I love this game. Since I got the first club in my hands, I’ve loved the game,” Diaz said. “It feels different. You can’t blame nobody else but yourself.”
And Diaz is no stranger to competition. While young, he wanted to become a boxer and he pursued that dream for ten years, even going so far as to win the Golden Gloves three times down in San Francisco.
“Still though,” Diaz said, speaking on his boxing career. “It’s all you.”
Five divisions competed in the Sonoma County Amateur Golf Championship for a total of 126 players. Randy Blankenbaker took first net for the Senior Division; Estok Menton for the Super-Senior Division; Cherri Brannon for the Women’s Division; and Brian Alexander for the Men’s Division.
“I don’t know how we’re going to top it next year,” said Matt Anderson, Foxtail’s Head Golf Professional.
Foxtail employees hosed off grass stains from the golf carts at the close of the day. The last few cars left the parking lot and the sun slowly slipped below the horizon. And then that was it. The largest golf tournament in Rohnert Park gone for a whole ‘nother year.