West Ranch Wildcats boys’ golf opened up Foothill League play with a win on Tuesday at the Oaks Club at Valencia.
The Wildcats edged past Valencia by four strokes with a team finish of 398. Junior William Kei led West Ranch with a 77-stroke (+5) finish on the day.
Hart’s Dylan Burcham and Castaic’s Charles Bailey each medaled with a 75-stroke (+3) day.
Only Valencia had two golfers finish in the 70s, with impressive days from No. 3 Ethan Cho and No. 6 Jay Wrage, who posted 77-stroke outings.
West Ranch displayed its depth in the win as the Wildcats’ No. 2 through No. 6 registered the low five to score. All five Wildcats who were scored finished under 81 strokes.
Cats head coach Jeff Holen believed his team was flying under the radar after strong preseasons from Hart and Valencia. Now West Ranch has a target on its back with another league match win.
“I always like being that underdog and being under the radar,” Holen said. “I don’t get too excited for wins or emotional after losses. Now we have to play like we’re on the radar.”
Valencia’s Taylor Cotti finished with 82 strokes but led the Vikings with three birdies, while Jack Wilson (+11) and Wrage finished with two.
Burcham hit three birdies on the day and was consistent off the tee and in his short game. No. 1 sophomore Kai Miyata finished a little behind Burcham with 81 strokes, while teammate Palmer Freeman finished at 83.
Peyton Marvin led Saugus with an 87-stroke finish.
Holen was unsure of what this season would look like over the summer. However, with some new additions, the Cats are now loaded with talent in a competitive Foothill League.
Joonho Moon (+9) came over from the swim team, Tyler Sonneberg (+8) is only a freshman and No. 6 Sean Brannen (+8) just impressed Holen with a 77-stroke performance on Monday. No. 5 Max Singer also finished with 80 strokes for West Ranch.
“Overall, I’m happy with my guys,” Holen said. “As we went into the year, I never said it’d be a rebuilding year but I thought we’d be back on top in a couple of years. I thought with Hart and Valencia being so talented, that we could be better by 2024. But after our first tournament I thought we might not have to wait that long.”
The league’s first match was delayed due to the rain but the teams will be right back on the course after spring break. Foothill League play resumes on Tuesday, April 11, at the Oaks Club at Valencia. The first group is set to tee off at noon.
Holen will hope to see his young team continue to grow and flourish atop the Foothill League.
“The goal is for them to see what I’ve been telling them,” Holen said. “Play smart, a four-stroke victory could’ve been a 10-stroke victory. I want them to learn how to manage the course…They’re definitely mature, but they have fun, which is my ultimate goal as a high school coach, let the kids have fun.”