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Vikes’ Johnson wins medalist; West Ranch closing in on team title

You can just call Travis Johnson Mr. 75.

For the fourth time in two weeks, Johnson shot 75 at a prep golf event. Most, recently he shot a 3-over 75 to win medalist at the fifth Foothill League boys golf meet of the season.

“Really, my mental stability,” Johnson said of what’s helped him develop his consistency. “I’ve gotten much better with keeping myself under control and not getting upset over a bogey or anything like that, just maintain that peace.”

West Ranch’s Brandon Park was behind Johnson in second place at 4-over. Saugus’ Austin Horcutt and the Wildcats’ Ben Valdez tied for third at 7-over.

West Ranch came in first as a team with a score of 400, followed by Saugus at 414 and Valencia at 429. Hart (445), Golden Valley (484) and Canyon (552) rounded out the finishers.

Johnson said that in addition to his mental game, his private coach has tweaked his swing over the last three weeks and he’s been practicing driving at least two hours a day in that time period as well.

“Ball striking is extremely important,” Johnson said. “Getting your drive in the middle of the fairway is important, so I have to practice that a lot. But I do practice putting a lot too.”

Before taking up golf in seventh grade, Johnson was a baseball player. He said that a golf swing is similar to swinging a bat, but his position, pitcher, shares even more similarities with golf.

“Pitching can overlap to golf too,” he said. “The motion is very similar, you have to use your body, its very similar to golf. That definitely helped for sure.”

Ahead of the final Foothill League meet of the season today, Johnson is trying to keep a level head for the last meet of his sophomore campaign and second year on varsity.

“I’m not going to think about the score at all, I’m just going to think about one shot at a time, make sure I make smart decisions and hopefully my chipping is going to be a little better tomorrow.”

In the individual standings, Ben Valdez is in first place with an average score of 75.5. Matt Monheim is close behind at 76 and Favian Busnawi trails him at 76.5. All three play for West Ranch.

The Wildcats are also looking to close out the season as league champions as they lead the team standings with a 1547 score. Next is Saugus at 1627, then Hart at 1692.

The individual and team champions will be determined today at the Oaks Club at Valencia, with play beginning at noon.

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