On Thursday morning, the skies didn’t look ominous to West Ranch golf’s Ashton Lee. They looked worse.
Rain came pouring down as he made his way to Goose Creek Golf Course in Jurupa Valley for the CIF-Southern Section Individual Championships and even though the precipitation eventually subsided, the weather didn’t necessarily improve.
Lee did his best to battle the elements but finished 9-over 81 and couldn’t make the cut to move on to the next round.
Taehoon Song of Anaheim Discovery Christian won medalist at the event, shooting 6-under 65.
“It was crazy,” Lee said. “In the morning it was pouring and it was super wet and it was raining pretty hard, a lot of the kids I was warming up with were a little stunned by how much rain was coming down.”
The junior played a practice round at the course a week prior, but it couldn’t prepare him for the weather. After the rain finished, the sun came out and heated up the course. After that, the wind picked up and cooled things off quickly.
Conditions only slightly affected Lee’s decision-making on the course. Lee said he stopped hitting the ball low, which was the only adjustment he really needed to make. When the rain stopped, the greens dried and were faster, too.
“I told myself to try to really pay extra attention to my short game around the green and make sure that I make the right compositions for the wind and the rain and all that,” Lee said.
The second half of play proved to be better for Lee, who said he parred and got two birdies in the last six holes. He also had an audience in this portion of the round, as his mom and coach Jeff Holen came on the course to follow the action.
Lee was the last player remaining in the playoffs from the Foothill League. No teams advanced out of the CIF-SS Team Championships on April 23. Lee was also the only individual to advance out of the CIF-SS Regionals on May 6.
He still learned valuable lessons this postseason and has advice for those entering the individual playoffs in future seasons.
“If it’s something you really want for yourself then you have to, that’s something you’ve got to do by yourself and you have to work for,” he said.
He also will return for his senior campaign a more determined player, along with the rest of his team that fell short of reaching its goal of making it to the state playoffs.
“In the offseason for next year … me and the team hopefully are going to try to play well at CIF and advance as far as we can and me and my team are going to practice so much and a lot just like we always do on the offseason to really try to strive to get there,” Lee said.