West Ranch’s Ashton Lee advances to CIF-SS Individual Finals

The Foothill League sent seven talented boys golfers to the CIF-Southern Section Individual Regionals at River Ridge Vineyard Course in Oxnard on Monday.

The lone golfer to advance to the next round of the postseason was Ashton Lee of West Ranch. He was the seventh and final golfer to make the cut when it came to qualifying Foothill League golfers.

“It feels too good, I guess,” said Lee, who finished even-par on Monday. “Kind of just a surprise that I’m the only one from the district that made it past. I thought a couple guys on my team would make it, but I was pretty happy with how I played today.”

The top 20 golfers at the Individual Regionals move on to the next stage of playoffs, the CIF-SS Individual Finals. Monday’s cutoff was 74, meaning Lee was in for the next round. For Hart’s Cameron Gadd, who carded 2-over 74, the day wasn’t as easy.

Nine golfers finished with the same score, meaning a playoff was necessary to decide the three golfers who were to move on.

Gadd parred the second playoff, but three players birdied, therefore eliminating him.

“It was kind of like a sudden death where they had to outplay each other,” Lee said.

Lee was grateful to not have to compete in the playoff event, especially after a season in which he said he struggled. Although he qualified for the postseason, Lee didn’t win medalist once in the league season.

Handling his schoolwork and making some changes to his swing made it difficult to focus on prep golf, in addition to weekend tournaments.

“I haven’t had a really good round this season in high school, but I feel like I’m capable of playing well, but I just can’t execute it all the time,” he said. “I think it’s just one day that I played well and hopefully I can just keep that going and stay consistent.”

In Monday’s round, Lee said that his short game was a strength and that he was able to focus for a few key putts.

“I just try to make sure I really have a good understanding of what the line is that I want to set for the ball and I make sure that I know the speed, how far I want to take it back and the rhythm and getting the ball started from there,” he said. “Just hit the ball, there’s really not much more you can do so I make sure I get it started well.”

Lee will next be playing in the CIF-SS Individual Finals on May 16. The top 28 individuals will move on. Before that, he’ll compete with his Wildcat teammates in the CIF-SS Division Team Championships on May 13 and 14. West Ranch will have to finish as one of the top two teams in the event to advance.

“I think you play well for any tournament whether it’s individual or team because you want to play well for your team,” said Lee.

“Keep practicing and hopefully keep a positive mindset,” he added.

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