Senior Jackson Crawford took first place in the golf team’s season opener on March 9 at Haggin Oaks, becoming the front-runner for the Sacramento Metropolitan Athletic League (SMAL) MVP award.

Three Cavaliers – Crawford and freshmen Shivom Sharma and Samrath Pannu – competed individually against golfers from Valley Christian, Buckingham and Sacramento Adventist. Country Day did not have enough players to compete as a team.

Crawford fired a bogey-free, 1-under par 35 for nine holes to win by five strokes.

“I felt really solid,” Crawford said. “I started it off on the first hole with a chip-in birdie and then just played steady with eight pars after that. I could’ve converted more birdies inside 10 feet because I had a lot of good looks today.”

Pannu shot a 14-over 50, and Sharma had a 21-over 57. Their places were not available.

Coach Matt Vargo said he was happy with the three performances.

“I thought (Pannu) had a great round, and (Sharma), who hadn’t played (a match) in about a year, also exceeded expectations,” Vargo said. “(For Crawford), our goal this year is for him to compete and win the MVP.”

This was Pannu’s first golf match.

“I think I did well,” Pannu said. “Usually I’m all over the place, but I hit good drives today. I was very focused.”

Pannu said he can work on chipping and consistent ball striking with his irons. 

Vargo said he sees areas where all three players can improve.

“With Jackson, we’re going to work on those six-foot putts,” he said. “And then with (Pannu and Sharma), it’s going to be more of course management and making the right decisions.”

Vargo hopes to have more players for the team’s next match, at Cypress Lakes in Vacaville on March 16.

“It’s going to be nice to get on the course that’s going to host the section championships to give us a little bit of experience,” Vargo said.

By Ethan Monasa

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