With rain falling and darkness approaching at Los Serranos in Chino Hills on Monday, Irvine Valley sophomore men's golfer Joe Gordon rolled in a slick downhill birdie putt on the third sudden death playoff hole to defeat Riverside's Everett Najera and earned the final Orange Empire Conference individual spot in the CCCAA South Regional.
That 36 hole in one day tournament will be played at the Bear Creek Golf Club, in Murietta, on Monday, May 9.
The OEC Finals were played as two consecutive 18-hole matches on the same day on the Los Serranos South and then then North courses.
Tournament conditions were in the mid 50 to 60 degrees in the morning round with increasing windy conditions.
With the exception of Santiago Canyon's first-place team score of 377 on the par 74 South Course, teams found the conditions difficult and produced higher than normal scores. The blustery winds picked up and continued in the afternoon rounds played on the par 72 North Course.
Orange Coast captured the OEC seasonal championship with the low score of 395 during the afternoon round. Santiago Canyon finished second and Cypress was third in the final conference standings. Those teams advanced to the SoCal Regionals.
For Irvine Valley, Gordon used one birdie, 10 pars, five bogeys and two double bogeys to score an 8 over par 82, on the morning round, played on the par 74 South Course.
In the afternoon round, he used one birdie, 11 pars and six bogeys to score a 5 over par score of 77 on the North Course.
His two-round total of 159 tied him Najera's total of 80/79 (159).
The sudden death playoff began on a 492-yard par 5 hole on the North Course. Gordon's attempt to reach the green with his second shot left him with a difficult downhill lie in the front bunker.
He exploded out and barely missed holing his birdie attempt. He settled for a score of par 5.
When Najera missed his eight-foot birdie putt, the playoff continued to the second hole.
Gordon pulled his tee shot and it wound up about 20 yards to the right of a 184-yard par 3 home. Najera's tee shot was on the front left side of the green. Gordon pitched to within six feet of the hole and sank the putt for a par. Najera two-putted and the match continued to a 473-yard uphill par 5 hole.
Gordon laid up to about 75 yards. The front pin location was just over the front bunker.
Gordon's pitch shot carried the bunker and the flag. It left him with a very tough downhill putt of around 20 feet. Najera had pitched on to the green and was left with about an eight-foot birdie putt.
When Gordon rolled his putt into the center of the cup, Najera was unable to answer with a birdie putt of his own.
Gordon, a captain on the IVC team, capped a five-week period of conference scores in the 75 to 76 range to capture the team scoring title.
As a team, Irvine Valley finished with a two-round score of 877 at the conference finals to finish sixth overall.
The Lasers shot 438 as a team in the morning round and 439 in the afternoon round.