In prep golf, van rides to out-of-town courses are a highlight. Even after all of the Foothill League boys golf teams were eliminated from the playoffs on Tuesday after the CIF-Southern Section Team Championships, the West Ranch players were able to keep the mood somewhat light.
“It could’ve gone better but we were mostly talking about the stuff we had going good, so it wasn’t all bad,” said the Wildcats’ Matt Monheim. “It was mostly positive.”
Servite of Anaheim came in first place with a team score of 358 and Mater Dei of Santa Ana was runner-up at 359.
West Ranch, the Foothill League champion, wasn’t far behind at 371, a score that was good for third place. Saugus finished at 381 (fifth), Valencia at 391 (sixth) and Hart at 402 (eighth). The top two teams move on, meaning Santa Clarita Valley golfers are finished in the team playoffs.
The Centurions’ Jacob Valente was medalist at the tournament, shooting 5-under 67.
“It just felt like everything was clicking,” Valente said. “I didn’t miss a fairway all day. I hit the first nine greens in regulation; putting was also fantastic because I was either one putting off birdie or two putting for par. I never really had a put outside of 20 feet.”
Valente had a practice round last week at the course, which he said helped. It’s not his first medalist win of the season either — he most recently won the Lynn McClung Memorial Palmdale Invitational on April 22.
He’s ready for the next step in his golf career, which includes a place in the starting lineup at Antelope Valley College, especially after a final, solid round with the Centurions.
“Coach talked to us and he said go out there, have fun, be aggressive,” Valente said. “Hole No. 17 is a really short par 4 and he told us ‘I want everyone going for that green.’ And the whole message all week … was play loose, be aggressive because for the top four of us out of six, it was our last match.”
Monheim had the low score for the Wildcats, finishing the day even par. Three other Cats finished the day at 3-over or below.
“I was just committing to shots today,” Monheim said. “Putts weren’t dropping as well as I would have liked, but it happens and just the way I was getting up and down places was helping me out a lot today.”
West Ranch’s highest scoring individual was Ashton Lee, a junior who will be competing in the CIF-SS Individual Finals at Goose Creek Golf Club in Jurupa Valley on Thursday. Lee finished 8-over, a score he said he isn’t satisfied with.
His swings weren’t bad on Tuesday, but his putting held him back.
“It kind of woke me up today. I need to work on some stuff, get some stuff done and really try to play the best I can on Thursday and hopefully represent well,” Lee said. “As for my confidence, I’m pretty upset with how I played today, but I feel like it’s a couple mistakes and I’m fine.”
Lee has played at Goose Creek before and is somewhat familiar with the course. He also recently played a practice round there in order to prepare.
The top 28 individual players who are not part of a team that is already moving on will advance to the CIF/SCGA Southern State Regional Championship.
As a team, the Wildcats are already eager to start next season. Only one player, Favian Busnawi, will graduate.
“When we lost today, I wouldn’t say we were shocked, but it was definitely really upsetting. So I think we’re all going to really go at it next year and we’re going to really try to put a lot more effort into it,” Lee said.