Los Gatos High senior Kirin Desai lines up a putt during a Santa Clara Valley Athletic League De Anza Division match at Coyote Creek Golf Course in Morgan Hill on April 3. The Wildcats are contenders for the league title. Photo by Jonathan Natividad.

Although the Los Gatos High boys golf team doesn’t have a player who will likely contend for a Central Coast Section individual championship, it has a lineup that goes eight deep with every player at those positions being of quality. 

That type of depth is why the Wildcats could strike into contention in the team portion of the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League and CCS Championships. If it does well at the latter event, it could earn a berth in the coveted CIF State Tournament. 

There’s a lot that has to happen before then, but coach Dave Denight has been ecstatic with the way the team has played with approximately a third of the season remaining. A lineup of senior Kirin Desai, sophomore Quin Cristofano, senior Theo Lohrer, freshman Tyler Purcell, freshman Kabir Khanna along with senior Tim Papageorge have excelled all season and will be further strengthened by the return of senior Henry Wong, who is awaiting full medical clearance to play after suffering a torn ACL during football season.

Wong was the team’s No. 2 player last year and will provide the team with additional experience and quality play. Junior Ben Fox will also receive an opportunity to be among the starting six, Denight said. 

In the team’s first three duel meet league matches—all victories—Los Gatos shot 202, 204 and 211. 

High school golf duel meets feature a nine-hole round taking the top five scores from each team with the low score being the winner. In most cases, teams have a big dropoff from their Nos. 1 and 2 players to the Nos. 5 and 6 golfers, the bottom of the lineup. 

However, the Wildcats are loaded with depth, a key reason why they’ll be able to make some noise come postseason time. In a 202-211 win over Los Altos at Bayview Golf Club in Milpitas, Desai was the medalist with a 38. 

Cristofano and Khanna each shot 40, Lohrer a 41 and Purcell and Papageorge each shot 43. When Los Gatos beat Cupertino 204-225 at the Golf Club at Moffett Field and scored a 211-222 win at Coyote Creek vs. Saratoga, the Wildcats’ top low score was just six strokes better than their high score. 

With consistency like that, it’s no surprise that Los Gatos is in for a potentially special season. 

“It’s a good group of kids with good camaraderie,” Denight said. “I’m proud of them because they’re able to come out there and shoot lower 40s on a consistent basis. We’ve made CCS the last two years, and when you can keep everyone in the 40s and be confident about it, it’s a relief because if you can’t trust your last two [Nos. 5 and 6], it’s tough.”

The boys golf program has had success over the years but hit a bit of a lull when Covid hit. It’s taken a couple of years but Los Gatos is once again a team to watch out for. Denight said success breeds success. 

“The boys team is attracting more golfers who are at a higher level, which is good,” he said. “I’ve never had two freshmen that could shoot 40 before.”

For the second straight year, Coyote Creek is serving as Los Gatos’ home course. The Wildcats have a decent drive to get to the Morgan Hill-based golf club, but it’s been well worth it as Denight said their support along with the LGHS athletic department has been instrumental to the team’s success. 

“We’re being supported well by both of them and being able to practice and play at Coyote Creek is a big deal,” Denight said. “The first day we had tryouts we played nine holes and then had another tryout and they’re able to accommodate our team. The kids get better, they’ve got range balls, a nice chipping area, a sand area, so it’s been a real pleasure.”

Denight said that Lynbrook and Palo Alto are “probably the top teams in the league,” and Los Gatos plays Palo Alto on back-to-back days, April 19-20. 

“Palo Alto is 5-0 in league so far so we’re looking forward to playing them,” Denight said. 

From there, the Wildcats compete in the league finals on May 2, and a strong showing there will put them into the opening CCS Regional a week later.

Quin Cristofano tees off during a SCVAL De Anza Division match at Coyote Creek on April 3. Photo by Jonathan Natividad.
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Emanuel Lee primarily covers sports for Weeklys/NewSVMedia's Los Gatan publication. Twenty years of journalism experience and recipient of several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. Emanuel has run eight marathons with a PR of 3:13.40, counts himself as a true disciple of Jesus Christ and loves spending time with his wife and their two lovely daughters, Evangeline and Eliza.


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