Valdez cards 6-under as West Ranch wins Foothill League boys golf meet No. 4

Ben Valdez of West Ranch approaches the first green. Dan Watson/The Signal

For West Ranch golfer Ben Valdez, Foothill League boys golf meet No. 4 both went very fast and very slow.

At hole 18, as the Wildcats’ No. 4 golfer, he swiftly putted to reach par, then slowly removed his hat in relief. He casually walked towards his teammates and was immediately rushed by spectators wanting to congratulate him.

“It’s just a blur,” Valdez said. “The round was a blur. Like the time was slow, but just it felt fast going through the round.”

While the sophomore might not remember everything that happened on Wednesday at Valencia Country Club, his final score will be hard to forget. Valdez carded 6-under 66 to win medalist in the fourth league meet of the season.

West Ranch’s Matt Monheim came in second place, finishing even par and Hart’s Cameron Gadd was third at 4-over 76.

Matt Monheim of West Ranch. Dan Watson/The Signal

After 10 holes, Valdez was 10-under. It was a lot of pressure for the underclassman, but Valdez was able to keep his composure.

“I was talking to my coach, he just said each shot is new, just keep your focus each shot,” Valdez said. “So that really helped me mentally.”

He reached par on nine holes, birdied on six holes and eagled on the fifth hole.

He encountered some challenges on the 12th and 13th holes after 3-putting on both of them for bogeys, but was able to recover on the 14th.

Cameron Gadd of Hart. Dan Watson/The Signal

“What I like about that is he had enough cushion that he was able to have that short term memory loss,” said West Ranch golf coach Jeff Holen. “Any golfer that can put behind a mistake and move on to the next hole, they’re on their way to having a good round.”

As a team, West Ranch came in first at 371. Saugus was second at 416 and Valencia third at 430. The Wildcats had four golfers finish in the 70s in addition to Valdez’s sub-70 score for the win.

Valdez’s win moves him into first place in the individual Foothill League standings. His score of 74.3 is a hair ahead of Monheim’s, who sits in second place with a score of 74.7. The Wildcats’ Favian Busnawi is third at 76 and Gadd is fourth at 76.7.

“We have good competition within our team,” Holen said. “When you have competition within your team, they drive each other to be better and when someone goes hey, I need to get better, it makes the team better.”

Ben Valdez of West Ranch lines up a putt on the first green. Dan Watson/The Signal

Foothill League golf season continues with league meet No. 5 on April 23 at The Oaks Country Club at noon.

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