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Hart golf advances to state qualifier 

Hart boys' golf after their eighth-place finish at the CIF Team Championships. Photo Courtesy of Hart boys' golf.
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Hart Indians boys’ golf has been steady all year, so coach Steve Lindberg knew his guys were ready for the challenges of the postseason. 

Hart finished eighth overall in the CIF Division 1 Team Championships on Monday at the Bear Creek Golf Club in Murrieta. 

The Indians finished with a team score of 387 strokes and were led by their two standouts, Nathan Ekins and 2024 Foothill League MVP Dylan Burcham, who both finished with 75 strokes (+3). 

Ekins had struggled in his previous few matches but returned with a bang. 

Freshman Cole Cardenas was also impressive, finishing the day with 78 strokes on the demanding course with interesting but challenging greens along with some serious 15-20 mph wind. 

Kai Miyata battled the course and illness on Monday but still put up a 79-stroke day for Hart, while Master’s commit Josh Smith finished one stroke behind, rounding out the scores. 

Burcham and Miyata both shot +1 last week at the CIF Individual championships as well. 

Hart had just missed the top-10 cut at the championships last season by one stroke, and after losing the league title race to West Ranch, the Indians weren’t going to let things slip away down Bear Creek again.  

“They wanted to advance out of Division 1 and get to the (Southern California Golf Association) qualifier and see if they can go further,” Lindberg said in a phone interview. “These guys have a lot of golf left in them. A lot of them are going to go play golf in college. They’re great young men who are really dedicated.” 

Valencia missed the cut to advance but was led by Ethan Cho (+5) and Dane Jorgenson (+6). 

West Ranch played well at the Division 2 championships and was led by sophomore Tyler Sonnenberg (-2) at Lakewood Country Club. 

Hart was prepared for Bear Creek and had a solid practice round. Lindberg’s group has improved their games on the greens as well as putting a new twist on their coach’s old mottos. 

“I always tell the boys, ‘The more you know, the better you do,’” Lindberg said. “They’ve kind of switched my motto around to, ‘The more you know, the lower you go.’ I liked the way they switched it.” 

Hart will now head to the SCGA Qualifying Tournament on Thursday at the Temecula Creek Country Club. 

Lindberg’s guys have no plans to quit just yet as they chase one last ride as Indians golf. 

“They’re dedicated. Next year, we’re the Hawks so in our school there’s kind of been this motto of the last ride,” Lindberg said. “So everybody’s kind of on this last ride motto and wanting to go as far as possible while we’re the Indians. This 2024 class, they’re the last class it’ll ever be the Indians.” 

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