Ryan Han chips on to the 11th green Tuesday afternoon.

Regardless of what happens at the Salinas Golf and Country Club on Monday, the San Benito boys golf team knows what it needs to do at the Tri-County Athletic League championships: Beat Palma.

At six different TCAL tournaments throughout the year, San Benito finished second to Palma all six times. In the team’s only dual meet of the year — April 19 — Palma once again beat the Balers.

Other than the Chieftains, San Benito has not lost to a TCAL team.

The Balers know the task, but they are trying not to think about it.

“Well you know, as always we want to play well,” sophomore John German said. “Golf is kind of the game where some days you have it and some days you don’t. So, I mean, we are just going to go and try our best as of now.”

No. 1 player Ryan Han doesn’t think the Balers should worry about the Chieftains.

“If everyone plays solid, we will have a good chance,” Han said. “Well, the goal of the team is to play well and have fun. At the end of the day, see what comes up. At the end, if we won, great. If we don’t and everyone gives their best, it’s all good.”

But that’s not to say the Balers don’t want to enact some sort of revenge over their Salinas-based rival.

“Let’s beat Palma,” Aaron Smith said with a laugh.

To do that, though, the Balers need to focus on themselves.

“Well, obviously we want to win,” Smith said. “If we all play our game, we should be fine.”

What that means for head coach Reggie Synegal are long drives and a strong short game.

“Hopefully, we get some more practice in and work on our short game in the next couple of days,” he said on Tuesday. “I think that’s going to be our tale. Right now, I think our short game is going to be important. I’m hoping to do better at that in the next couple of days. We are going to have to keep our heads throughout the 18 holes of the match for us to end up doing well.”

Also if Han defeats Palma’s Jay Burlison by two strokes, the San Benito sophomore would clinch the league’s player of the year.

“I’m looking for that spot,” he said.

The Balers already played once at the Salinas golf course on Feb. 27, and that experience should help them Monday.

“I think it’s very important, actually,” Han said. “It’s one of the shorter courses and it makes you really think. You have to make sure you don’t give yourself awkward distances. And you need to know how the greens are working. It’s definitely important.”

To gain more confidence on the course, the Balers will play a practice round Friday. While there, the Balers will work on shots from within 100 yards, Synegal said.

“The closer we can play to Monday, the better,” Synegal said. “They can visualize their shots and what they need to make to be successful on the golf course. From 100 yards in we are going to have to make something happen. A bogey is going to have to be the worst thing we shoot from 100 yards in. We are really going to work on that.”

Synegal expects the best from his six golfers, though.

“We are going to have some strong golfers out there,” he said. “We are really starting to play well.”

German expects the Balers to make a run at the championship, he said.

“I think we are playing pretty solid,” he said. “I think we definitely stand a chance and maybe something will happen where everything just locks in and we can pull something off.”

The 2012 TCAL championship begins at 1 p.m. at the Salinas Golf and Country Club on Monday. With a victory, San Benito would clinch a spot in the Central Coast Section Regionals on May 7. The finals are scheduled for May 15.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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