Monday, May 24
SOUTHERN SECTION INDIVIDUAL FINALS
At Canyon Country Club in Palm Springs -- par 72
There's an adage in golf: Drive for show, putt for dough.
Torrance junior Lucas Lee followed it to the letter Monday during the Southern Section individual championships. Lee sank a one-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole with freshman Matt Pierce of San Juan Capistrano St. Margaret's to take first place here at Canyon Country Club in Palm Springs.
Lee used a 25-yard chip to set up his winning birdie on the par-five 10th hole. He chipped and one-putted on 16 of his 18 holes to shoot four-under-par 68. Lee and Pierce each had five birdies and a bogey.
"His short game was really the difference for him today," Torrance Coach Devin Kushi said of Lee. "He chipped and one-putted almost every hole in the match."
Lee, who was reserved during play, showed no sign of elation after the victory. He barely cracked a smile as officials and coaches came to congratulate him.
"All I wanted to do was make the cut," Lee said of qualifying for the CIF-SCGA regional tournament June 3 at the SCGA Members Club in Murrieta. "I just tried to be calm throughout the match and do like Kushi said, 'one shot at a time.'"
Lee, Pierce and 20 other individuals not on the top four teams qualified for the CIF-SCGA tournament. Cerritos Gahr won the team title May 13 at La Cumbre Country Club in Santa Barbara. Palm Desert, La Mirada and Santa Barbara San Marcos rounded out the top four qualifying teams.
On Monday, Lee played in the same foursome with Palm Springs senior David Lieberman, the only tournament participant who is a member of Canyon County Club. Lieberman, who shot a one-under 71 and will attend California on a golf scholarship in the fall, had a 13-cart entourage following him the entire match.
"It was actually fun," Lee said about the gallery that trailed his group. "It kind of got me excited to see all those people around us. It was different, but it definitely didn't bother me."
Lee joined his cousin, Torrance sophomore Angela Park, as reigning section champions. Park won the girls' tournament in the fall. Both players became the first from the Bay League to win the section title since Ted Oh took first for the Tartans in 1992.
"We like to talk about Ted Oh at our school when we talk about champions that have played for us," Kushi said.
"Now we can talk about Lucas. Regardless of what happens to him in his career, he will always be remembered in our halls."
Pierce, rated as the second-best freshman in the nation by National Junior Scorecard behind La Mirada's Sihwan Kim, lipped an eight-foot birdie putt that would have forced another playoff hole.
"It was a tough little hole," said Pierce, who parred the 10th in his regular round.
"Either way, it was great to just be out here, except for the runner-up part. I'm glad I'll get another chance next year, and the year after that, hopefully."
Pierce will be joined at the CIF-SCGA tournament by sophomore teammate Tyler Smith, who finished tied for 15th with four others at 72.
Anaheim Esperanza senior Derek Sipe eagled the 10th hole during a three-man playoff for third place. Sipe finished the day with a three-under 69, as did his teammate, junior Jeff Koprivetz, and Carl Smith, a junior from Santa Margarita. Smith and Koprivetz birdied the playoff hole to tie for fourth.
Senior Ben Fox of North Hollywood Oakwood, freshman Ricky Montanez from Victorville Victory Valley and sophomore Chris Gregoire of Santa Barbara San Marcos tied for sixth place at 70.
Along with Lieberman, Gahr sophomore Tommy Lee, Goleta Dos Pueblos senior Ryan Ritzau, Mission Viejo junior Cameron Tringale and Los Alamitos senior Kyle Warren shot 71 to advance.
Central Regional champion Rickie Fowler of Murrieta Valley, Hur Jin of Bermuda Dunes Desert Christian, Greg Moss of Brentwood and Bryan Pierce of Arroyo Grande shot 72 to advance.
68--Lucas Lee, Torrance; Matt Pierce, St. Margaret's (Lee wins in one-hole playoff)
69--Derek Sipe, Esperanza; Jeff Koprivetz, Esperanza; Carl Smith, Santa Margarita (Sipe finishes in third place in one-hole playoff)
70--Ben Fox, Oakwood; Chris Gregoire, San Marcos; Ricky Montanez, Victor Valley
71--Kyle Warren, Los Alamitos; Rory Hie, Cerritos; Tommy Lee, Gahr; David Lieberman, Palm Springs; Ryan Ritzau, Dos Pueblos; Cameron Tringale, Mission Viejo
72--Rickie Fowler, Murrieta Valley; Jin Hur, Desert Christian; Gregg Moss, Brentwood; Bryan Pierce, Arroyo Grande; Tyler Smith, St. Margaret's
73--Jeff Chen, Los Altos; Brian Kim, Cerritos; Brian Locke, St. Bernard; Daniel Wax, Santa Monica; Colin Wilcox, Camarillo; Larry Wong, Diamond Ranch; Tim Cha, Chino Hills*; Kendall Jenkins (Riverside Poly)*
*--did not advance after playoff.