Hart golf hot streak continues, wins league opener 

Josh Smith. Photo Courtesy of Hart Golf.

Hart Indians boys’ golf has been impossible to cool off in 2024.  

The Indians won their 11th straight match on Monday, as the team won the Foothill League opener at the Knollwood Country Club with a final score of 381 strokes. 

Reigning individual league champ Kai Miyata led Hart, shooting 73 (+1) while Washington State commit Dylan Burcham trailed by one stroke. 

Kai Miyata. Photo Courtesy of Hart Golf.

Hart’s only other starting returner, Nathan Ekins, also was steady and finished the opener at 75 strokes (+2). Joining the starting lineup this season are Josh Smith and Jonah Escobar, who have helped round out a strong starting five for the Indians. The two both finished the day with 78 strokes, making the Hart the only team with five golfers finishing under 80 strokes. 

Indians coach Steve Lindberg knows his top three guys will typically deliver strong outings but credits the hot start to his fourth and fifth golfers rounding out the starters. 

“We’ve got a lot of support this year. Our four and five players have been playing a lot more solid golf and that’s what’s really helped us to get off to the great start,” Lindberg said in a phone interview. “We have consistent depth this year and we’ve been able to post four or five scores in the 70s every round.” 

The match belonged to West Ranch’s Tyler Sonnenberg, who medaled with an even par of 72 strokes. 

Sean Bramen (+2), Max Singer (+4) and William Kei (+7) also played well for the Wildcats, who finished three strokes behind Hart. 

Valencia saw solid starts from its stars but fell to its league rival Hart by five strokes. The Vikings were led by Ethan Cho and Andrew Ponce with 75 strokes (+3). Dane Jogenson followed his teammates (+4) with senior Taylor Cotti trailing by another stroke (+5). 

Monday’s league match was the first at Knollwood in several years. Foothill League teams typically play two matches at each of Sand Canyon, The Oaks and Valencia country clubs. However, according to Lindberg, the latter has dropped out from hosting high school golf matches. 

“We appreciate Knollwood Country Club and their support of high school golf,” Lindberg said. “They really go out of their way to make tee times for the players.” 

Foothill League golf will now get a big break in between matches as the students head into spring break next week. Teams will get a little over two weeks in between matches before Foothill League golf resumes at the Oaks Club. 

Lindberg knows his golfers will keep doing some fine tuning during the long break and simply hopes to keep the pressure off of them. 

“I’ve tried to take the pressure off the players because they create their own pressure,” Lindberg said. “I’ve tried to take the pressure off the players and let them focus on their own individual and team goals. I’m really focusing on guiding them with positivity, confidence, and focusing on their mental game. We focus on visualization and execution.” 

Group one tees off at noon on Tuesday, April 9, at the Oaks Club. 

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