Sun, Jan. 26

Scorpion golfers not satisfied with 1 title

The Scorpions, who cruised to the 3A title in Wickenburg by a whopping 36 strokes, will face a demanding schedule – maybe the toughest in school history – over the next couple of months.

If all goes according to coach Dennis Mobley’s plan, the fierce competition will have his golfers primed to defend their title come May.

"My philosophy has always been to play the best teams as often as possible and to play on the best courses available," Mobley said.

"I am bound and determined to find a team that can beat us this season. For our team to go undefeated, we will have to win a major invitational high school event in Las Vegas that includes teams from San Diego and Northern California, and we will have to defeat the number-one ranked high school in Nevada on our own home course."

That school is Las Vegas Palo Alto High, which will compete in the annual 36-hole Sedona Invitational in mid-April.

Losses proved rare last year for Sedona, which won the region title over Fountain Hills by 39 strokes the week before torching the field in the state tournament. After a couple of defeats early in the season, the Scorpions were essentially untouchable the rest of the way.

Four Scorpion golfers finished in the top six individually at state. Three – Sean Ernes, Jake Grodzinsky and Jimmy Bicking – return this season.

Ernes won the state title by shooting even par over two days on the narrow Los Cabelleros course in Wickenburg. This year, he has the chance to become a four-time region champion (winning the West crown last season and the 2A North Canyon individual the two years prior).

Grodzinsky, who was third at state in 2002, earned national attention on the Golf Channel last April when he shot a state-record 59 over 18 holes in Snowflake.

Grodzinsky had a busy and successful off-season, which included a ninth-place finish at the U.S. Junior Amateur Nationals in Atlanta. He also qualified and played in the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championships held in Washington, Mich., according to Mobley.

"He won the prestigious Billy Mayfair Award for maintaining the top stroke average (71.5) in the state in all of his amateur tournaments," the coach said.

Bicking, fourth at state a year ago, won the Milt Coggins Open in Phoenix last summer with solid rounds of 71, 67 and 74.

"His game has improved immensely since last year," said assistant coach David Bill. "Jimmy has a chance to pass Jake and Sean and win the individual title this year."

All three golfers will be playing for college teams next year. Grodzinsky signed with Duke University in Durham, N.C. Ernes is considering scholarship offers from Memphis State and Mississippi. Bicking has inked with Paradise Valley Community College.

Billy Fitz also returns to the Scorpion lineup. The senior didn’t play in the region or state tournaments a year ago but knows first-hand what it’s like to win a 3A title. He suited up for Red Rock’s state championship soccer team in the fall.

"(He) is attempting to become the first student in Sedona Red Rock High School history to start for two state championship teams in the same year," Mobley said.

Other golfers battling for starting spots include returning sophomore Mitch Witteman, senior Kevin Williamson, senior Ti Filice and sophomore Chapin Fisher.

Other members of this year’s team include sophomores Alvin Ho, Rusty Crawford and Daniel Watters, and freshmen Brad Brassfield, Max Boswell, Bobby Follett, Tim Hall, Jordan Mandell, Mike McClintock, David Olson, Andy Stanton and Mike Steele.

Kipp Bates, the head golf pro at Seven Canyons Golf Club, has joined the coaching staff. "Coach Bates is in charge of stroke instruction for this year and is already having a profound effect on the team," Mobley said.

Other assistants include Chip Bicking, Paul Gabaldon and Steve Livingstone.

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