GLENDALE — After a two-year break from competition, Vincent Lam came back this season refreshed with an eye on trying to help the Glendale Community College men’s golf team return to the playoffs.
Lam returned to the field and found the program’s landscape had changed dramatically. He was joined by a new cast of teammates, along with a new coach in Todd Tyni. Lam welcomed the challenge of coming back to Glendale after being a member of the 2011 squad that reached the state tournament.
Lam enjoyed his finest round of the season Monday, as he carded a six-over-par 77 to share medalist honors and help Glendale take second in a Western State Conference match at scenic Oakmont Country Club.
“The last two years, I just wanted to focus on academics,” said Lam, who tied for the lead with College of the Canyons’ Austin Grimes and Jake DePass and Carson Curtis of Santa Barbara. “Then, I started to get back into golf and wanted to be a part of the team again.
“We had a rough start to the season, but now we are a lot more focused than we were at the beginning of the year. I got up and down a lot and my short game was much better [Monday]. I kept my drives mostly on the fairways to give me a chance.”
Santa Barbara won the eight-team event with a team total of 396, followed by Glendale (401), Canyons (410), Ventura (416), Bakersfield (424), Citrus and Allan Hancock (424) and Antelope Valley (440).
Santa Barbara, Canyons and Ventura have virtually locked up spots to advance to the Southern California Regionals on May 5. The top four teams from the conference automatically qualify for the postseason. If Glendale finishes ahead of Bakersfield, Citrus, Hancock and Antelope Valley at the 36-hole conference tournament April 28 at Brookside Golf Course in Pasadena, it would reach the postseason.
Glendale had its best finish in a conference match since taking fourth at River Ridge Golf Course in Oxnard on March 10. Glendale looked sharp Monday playing on its home course, which covered 7,015 yards and featured firm greens.
“It was big for us and they couldn’t have a better time to play a very good round,” said Tyni, who took over the program from Greg Osbourne. “We were really looking just for a top-four spot, so they surpassed my hopes.
“There’s a lot of good things to build off going into the conference final. They have a boost in their confidence level and they know what they need to do to continue getting better.”
Glendale received 79s from freshmen Khorri Ellis and Andrew Salinas and 83s from freshmen Evin Davis and Joel Yoo.
“I felt like I could have done a little bit better, but I’m happy with a 79,” Ellis said. “The greens were pretty hard and fast.
“It’s our home course, so we had a definite advantage. We had a good feeling that we could place well.”
Follow Charles Rich on Twitter: @TCNCharlesRich .