By Justin Vigil-Zuniga
Signal Sports Writer
The 2022 Foothill League Golfer of the Year isn’t ready to end his season just yet.
Sophomore sensation Taylor Cotti will advance to the SoCal Championships after finishing with 74 strokes (+2) at River Ridge in Oxnard.
The Viking knocked down three birdies in a long six-hour match, including a clutch shot on the final hole of the day.
Sitting at +3 looking at the most challenging hole of the day, Cotti knocked in a birdie on a 200-yard par-3 heading straight into the wind.
“I was proud of him,” said Valencia head coach Robert Waters. “He was real steady the whole day. He ran into some trouble on the backside. It was the most pressure he could be under but he pulled it off.”
Cotti unknowingly saved his season, as the birdie put the sophomore in a nine-way tie on the cut line with eight spots left. Only the top 28 would advance, forcing him and the other eight to return to the course to play an elimination hole.
The nine played a sudden-death hole to decide which one golfer would go home. The group returned to the Koiner course’s par-three 12th hole. Cotti was able to tee first and hit par, unknowingly saving his season again.
“That’s what makes him so special, he plays better under pressure,” said Waters. “He wants that moment. He has a ‘watch this’ attitude.”
Cotti will now advance to the SoCal Championships to face the top golfers from Fresno to the Mexico border and is the first Valencia golfer to do so in 10 years.
Cotti tees off among his stiffest competition yet on Thursday at Brookside Golf Club in Pasadena.