Santa Clarita Valley's #1 Local News Source

Close this search box.
Close this search box.
Close this search box.

West Ranch takes boys’ golf title 

West Ranch's Kai Willen tees off during the Foothill Boys Golf League on Tuesday, April 9 at The Oaks Club at Valencia. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

Leading by a pair of strokes heading into the final Foothill League golf match, West Ranch coach Jeff Holen just wanted his players to play and forget about the high stakes. 

Holen believes his guys played relaxed and confidently, and in doing so, returned the Foothill League title to West Ranch for the first time in three years. 

“They put so much pressure on themselves thinking, ‘I need to do this, I need to do that,’” Holen said in a phone interview. “I told them that nobody needs to do anything except for play the type of golf that they play. One or two strokes could have won or lost it for us and they all did what they’re supposed to do. They all just played their game and in a sense where I really think none of them put pressure on themselves.” 

The Wildcats took the crown by five strokes, beating out the Hart Indians by five strokes on Monday at Sand Canyon Country Club. 

Hart’s Dylan Burcham earned his second consecutive medal at Sand Canyon and his 72-stroke, even-par day was just enough to make the senior the 2024 league MVP. 

Burcham had the day and every hole mapped out for Sand Canyon, a course he knows all too well. The MVP’s keys to success: patience. 

Hart senior Dylan Burcham putts. Photo Courtesy of Hart Golf.

“I’ve been very patient,” Burcham said in a phone interview. “That’s been my whole motto all season, just stay patient, stick to my process. If I play well enough to win, great. If I give it my all and don’t come out on top, there’s nothing I can do about it. I try not to get too high nor try to get too low. I’m just trying to be very even-keeled.” 

Reigning league MVP and Hart teammate Kai Miyata trailed with 76 strokes. 

“(Miyata’s) a great competitor. There’s a lot of competition between us. We don’t want to lose to each other,” Burcham said. “We’re always trying to beat each other but there’s also a friendship. We both want the other to play well. So sometimes it’s trying to calm him down, trying to motivate him, trying to push him to become better than I am to help out our team as well.” 

West Ranch sophomore Tyler Sonnenberg with 72 strokes also medaled on Monday and although the Wildcat matched Burcham in total strokes this season, the Indian senior’s high-out season score pushed him to the MVP title by three strokes. 

West Ranch teammates Joonho Moon and Max Singer also came up clutch in the do-or-die match with 77-stroke performances (+5) from the fifth and sixth spots. 

“Joonho is a non-emotional guy,” Holen said. “I kept saying, ‘Hey don’t worry about it. You’re gonna contribute.’ He didn’t even know what he shot. Max, I call him a squirrel, I don’t know where Max is gonna be. He has a carefree attitude almost like myself, and I love that. He and I in the past few matches had been having pushup competitions.” 

Singer has given Holen a number he was targeting and if he matched or beat the stroke total, Holen would give him 10 pushups. Singer has played steady to close out the season, so needless to say the West Ranch coach has been getting his chest workouts in. 

William Kei (+6) and Kai Willen (+7) also posted solid days for the championship Wildcats. 

The tightness of the race for the crown only made the taste sweeter for West Ranch. 

“It 100% does. Anybody can do well when there’s not a lot on the line, but not when there’s something on the line,” Holen said. “To maintain the lead we had and to actually add to it a little bit, I think it’s a great complement to these players in their life to be successful.” 

The race for the Foothill League was excruciatingly tight between Hart and West Ranch. However, Valencia brought in its first league match win of the season on Monday with a team finish of 377, beating out West Ranch by five strokes on the day. 

Vikings senior Taylor Cotti led the way, shooting 73 (+1) with Aidan Chroman just behind at 74 in his first league outing of the season. Valencia also received sub-80-stroke days from Justin Kim and Andrew Ponce, who both finished with 76 strokes, just ahead of senior Ethan Cho (+6). 

Hart had strong finishes from The Master’s University commit Josh Smith and Jonah Escobar, who both finished the day with 79 strokes.  

Saugus’ Peyton Marvin had his best outing of the season with a 77-stroke day. Jacob Peters led Castaic with 80 strokes,  

Canyon was led by Anthony Santos with 89 strokes. Santos and Gage Evans made tremendous leaps this season, as Santos shot 28 strokes lower than his first league outing while Evans shaved off 23. 

For the champs, Sonnenberg is just a sophomore but his game spoke for itself, playing in the first group with upperclassmen and multiple former league MVPs. 

“I think (playing in the first group) definitely pushed his game to the next level,” Holen said. “I think that he has an internal drive from playing basketball his freshman year and watching him on the court, I could see that same athletic mentality involved in that. I think that is what has helped him step it up when he needed to step it up. The fight he has, that to me is a key factor for him. He has that ability mentally to take it to the next level.” 

Burcham totaled three medals in league play this year, including two at Sand Canyon. The Washington State commit feels he’s in a good rhythm just in time for the postseason. 

“I just found my groove,” Burcham said. “I’ve stayed in my routine and found a comfortable space with my golf game. I found something new in my putter, ball started rolling and I became more comfortable and confident seeing the ball go in the hole.” 

The top squads now advance into the CIF Team championships on May 13 before the top seven golfers advance into the CIF Individual Championships a few days after. 

Burcham feels Hart is in a great spot and can thrive in the high-stakes and high-level play of Division 1.  

“We’re in a good spot going into CIF being in Division One,” Burcham said. “Having a lot of the top competitors in there to push us but there’s multiple spots coming out of there to move on to the next round. So we have pretty good percentages to get out there.” 

Hart and Valencia tee off at Bear Creek Golf Course in Murrieta while West Ranch will take on the Division 2 competition at Lakewood Country Club. 

Related To This Story

Latest NEWS