Through six holes on Monday at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV Golf Tournament at Castle Oaks, Sonora sophomore Billy Kiriluk couldn’t get a putt to fall and things weren’t going all that well. He was 3-over and his coach saw him shake his head bogeying the ninth hole.
“He started out and his putts weren’t falling and he was pretty frustrated,” said Wildcat head coach Steve Lee. “But Billy’s a fighter. He could have easily gone in the tank, but he fought back and started sinking putts.”
Kiriluk followed his frustrating beginning with a scoring rampage. It was a scoring streak of which Tiger Woods would have been proud. He began his round on hole No. 4 and was 3-over starting the back nine.
He finished that next nine in just 30 strokes! Yeah, 30 — 5-under-par. He birdied three straight at one time, Nos. 12, 13 and 14.
He finished his round with a 2-under-par 69 which was good for second place and a spot next week in the prestigious Masters tournament at The Reserve at Spanos Park in Stockton.
“A 69 is just crazy good,” Lee said. “Unbelieveable! I’ve never had a kid shoot 69 in a tournament like this. Last year, Barrett McLaughlin won this tournament for us with a 71. Billy this year shoots a 69 and comes in second.”
Kiriluk finished one shot behind Central Catholic senior Andrew Bonner, who has a full ride to Colorado State next year. He also outscored Valley Oak League Most Valuable golfer Will Brink of East Union, who shot a 72 and is headed to UC Davis next fall.
“It’s amazing that he has just been playing for a little over a year,” Lee said. “It was fun to keep up with him throughout the day. Heck, I’ve never heard of any kid shooting a 30 on a nine at the high school level.”
As a team, the Wildcats finished in fifth place out of nine teams with an overall score of 423. Central Catholic won the section with a miniscule 377.
Brandon Phelan also had a good round for the Wildcats with an 82.
“Brandon has been playing since November and he goes out and shoots an impressive 82,” Lee said. “Overall as a team it was less than we expected, but all the kids are excited for Billy.”