Valencia Vikings golfer Luke Rimkunas is the last man standing from the Santa Clarita Valley after shooting an even par of 70 strokes at the CIF Individual Regionals on Tuesday, May 9.
Rimkunas started hot with three straight birdies at the Los Robles Greens in Thousand Oaks and was competing for the lead until a few bogies set the senior back. Rimkunas finished par in the final five holes in dramatic fashion.
The Cal Lutheran commit drilled a 10-foot putt on a tricky slope to notch par on the 17th hole. On the final hole, the Viking had 50 feet to cover with two strokes left. Rimkunas’ first putt covered most of the ground before he drilled the second one to continue his season.
Valencia High School head coach Robert Waters has almost become accustomed to seeing at least one of his Vikings make a deep playoff push.
“Luke is playing some great golf lately,” Waters wrote in an email. “His game feels great at the moment and he is very confident in his ability. His maturity and experience is now starting to show in pressure situations. You can see a collegiate golfer beginning to show. He manages his game very well and knows when to be aggressive and when to be defensive.”
Rimkunas finished just one stroke ahead of teammate Taylor Cotti, who was forced into a sudden-death hole to decide which golfers would advance. Cotti just missed the cut after a deep run at individuals last season.
“Taylor had a solid day,” Waters wrote. “No big numbers. Just didn’t make enough putts and missed on a few of his approach shots. Taylor and five other boys went to a playoff. Taylor bogeyed hole one of the playoff to be eliminated. He was bummed. But that’s golf sometimes.”
Rimkunas shot a 78 on the Los Robles course last season. The senior shaved eight strokes off that mark and will now move on with the top 20 golfers into the Individual Regional finals on Thursday at the River Ridge golf club in Oxnard.
“The next round is much deeper, in terms of quality of the field, but the numbers are better,” Waters added. “Luke will have to play even-par or better golf to give himself a shot at advancing. The good news is he has that ability. Going to be an exciting day next week.”