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Riverbank Bruins Battle To Season's End
Low roster numbers and inexperience kept Riverbank High's boys golf team from reaching lofty heights this season, but the steady improvement of three first-year golfers and the sharp swings of three returning linksters has made for an interesting 2012 for Bruin golf coaches John Heaton and Charlie Floyd.

The Bruins topped Waterford during the preseason, went 2-10 in Trans-Valley League play and saw their team season come to an end during Monday's TVL championship tournament at the Poppy Ridge Golf Course in Livermore, though results were not available at press time. The Bruins were reeling from one-sided losses to two of the several elite golf programs in the conference during meet action on April 24 and 26. It started when host Ripon kept five scores under 40 strokes at the par-31 Jack Tone Golf Course. Ripon outscored the Bruins 184-235, but only had three golfers better than Riverbank's one-two punch of Casey Floyd and Zack Vannest. Both landed 38-stroke finishes. Dominic Mulkey shot 47 in the loss while Zach Woods (52) and Nick Morris (60) also recorded scores.

The Bruins went on to tackle Hughson at the River Oaks Golf Course two days later. The Huskies pulled together a 192-255 win, despite a sharp 45-stroke performance by Mulkey. Floyd (41) and Vannest (42) also nabbed low scores while Woods shot a 61 and Morris a 66.

Morris, Woods, and Taylor Adcox have struggled against the better golfers in the conference, but played key roles in Riverbank's two league victories over Orestimba and the lone preseason defeat of Waterford. They also give the team the important depth required to avoid forfeits during match play. Their scores have been impressive, considering the three picked up golf for the first time in 2012.

"All three of them progressed rapidly," coach Floyd said. "It's pretty exciting and fulfilling to see these guys from no swings at all to legitimate starters on the team."

Casey Floyd, brother to four-year girls golf standout Courtney Floyd and son of coach Charlie Floyd, has led the Bruin program with sharp swings against a gauntlet of conference opposition. The sophomore joined returning golfers, Vannest and Mulkey in 2012.

"There needs to be some separation of coach and father, and Casey understands that," coach Floyd said. "He knows that once he steps out of that van and onto the course I am his coach, and he shows that out of respect for me."

Coach Floyd said Courtney and Casey share light-hearted competition when it comes to discussing scores, but the sibling rivalry only helps both to advance their game.

"I think for the majority it's been really good for both of them," coach Floyd said. "It's healthy competition and a lot of comparing rounds at different places."