West Ranch boys golf tops All-Foothill League list

West Ranch's Ben Valdez tees off on the second hole of Foothill League Meet Number 6 at The Oaks Club at Valencia. Cory Rubin/The Signal
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For West Ranch golf’s Ben Valdez, there was a very distinct turning point for this year’s Foothill League season.

After struggling to start the season, Valdez shot 6-under 66 in the fourth league meet of the season.

“It just gave me some reassurance that my hard work is paying off and just to keep at it, keep working,” Valdez said.

The result of that meet helped catapult Valdez to the top of the individual standings and as a result, earn the Foothill League boys golf individual title and the Foothill League boys golf Player of the Year award.

“It feels awesome as a sophomore just getting to a goal at the end of the season it’s just really awesome to check off and celebrate with my team,” he said.

He said that his mental game and his short game were two areas he was focused on improving on this season.

“Every putt is going to be different,” Valdez said. “You could be in the same spot two days in a row and you could hit two different putts to go in the hole. It’s a combination of speed and line and overall just trust in yourself.”

In addition to winning the fourth league meet, Valdez also won the sixth and final meet of the season by carding a 1-over. Those two scores earned him a league-low score of 375, a full 11 points ahead of league runner-up and teammate Favian Busnawi.

Valdez also averaged 75.0 across the six league meets of the season. He reached the first round of the CIF-Southern Section individual playoffs, but was unable to advance. As a team, the Wildcats made it to the CIF-SS Team Championships and came in third place.

Unfortunately, only the top two teams moved on.

“I’m sure we do have the talent to have gone further but we all just are going to work hard during the offseason to get a better push next year,” Valdez said.

The top six golfers in the league this season were named to the All-Foothill League First Team. Busnawi, Matt Monheim, Brandon Park and Ashton Lee all represented West Ranch while Cameron Gadd represented Hart and Chad Waitkus Saugus.

Lee made it the farthest in the postseason out of all Santa Clarita Valley prep golfers. He advanced to the CIF-SS Individual Championships, but inclement weather prevented him from performing at his best.

He finished 9-over at Goose Creek Golf Course in Jurupa Valley to end the prep golf season.

“In the offseason for next year,” Lee said after the individual tournament, “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.”

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