Dec. 12, 2007
Santa Clara, Calif. -- When the dust of the signing period finally settled, Santa Clara's men's golf team came away with one of its most solid recruiting classes the history of the program. Headlining the incoming class of 2008, with Danny Cacho and Cory Mehl, is Ronnald Monaco of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. A senior at Ontario Christian High School, Monaco finished last season ranked 38th in the Titleist/Golfweek Boys rankings, the highest rated recruit ever to sign with Santa Clara's golf team.
"He fits well with the Santa Clara tradition and is an upstanding person which will make him a very good teammate," said head coach Rob Miller. "Couple that with a real competitive nature and it's just uniquely a good fit for us."
Playing in the Christian League, Monaco won two straight league MVP's as a sophomore and junior and will contend for his third this year. He has a slew of top ten finishes under his belt, including a 2nd place finish at the 2006 Chino Amateur Championship, taking runner up in the 2006 CIF-SCGA tournament, 1st place in the 2006 Toyota Cup at Glen Annie, 1st in the 2006 JAGS Presidents Cup, 8th at the 2006 Boys' Junior Americas Cup, and 2nd at the 2006 AJGA Pacific Northwest Junior. Last year he won the 2007 Christian League Championship and took second the year before.
Among Monaco's greatest achievements on the golf course include qualifying for the USGA Junior Amateurs and then qualifying for the match play tournament. Out of roughly 5,000 players who try to qualify for the Junior Amateurs, only 200 make it, followed by just 64 making the match play tournament. Monaco shot a two round 137 to quality in sectionals and his 150 in the two round qualifier for the match play tournament earned him the 58th seed.
Playing as the 58th seed, Monaco took on 7th seed Matt Nolaco in the first round. Winning the first two holes, Monaco never looked back and ended up winning 5&4. Although he lost in the next round, Monaco got the experience and the satisfaction of playing in the top junior's tournament in the world, and playing well. "Playing in the Junior Amateur was one of the best experiences I have ever had," said Monaco. "The way that they honored us players at the event was something special that is rarely experienced. The tournament itself was a true test of skill as the conditions of the course were impeccable and the fact that you are playing in the most elite junior golf tournament in the world really adds the pressure you feel out on the course."
Monaco says the best part about his game is his consistency and his calm demeanor. Those will certainly benefit him when he starts his career at Santa Clara. "I chose Santa Clara because I value a Jesuit education, I respect the players on the team that I have had a chance to play with, and Coach Miller is devoted to the school and the golf program. It is the program that bests fits me."
"There are two things that stick out with Ronnad's game," said Miller. "He is very cool under pressure, he has a great demeanor and he has an excellent short game along with plenty of length to make him likely to translate his skills to the collegiate level. It's difficult for freshmen to come play immediately in college, but the quality of his game and his character, and the ability to organize his life makes him likely to contribute at a high level immediately. His junior record and maturity as a person gives us an opportunity to utilize him right away."