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Esperanza High Wins Golf Title; University City’s Erb Sets Record

Times Staff Writer

The only question after the CIF-Southern California Golf Assn. championships at Lakeside Golf Club Monday was which of three performances was most impressive.

Was it the smart play of the five players from Esperanza High School, which won the team title with 389 after spending the previous night examining chalkboard sketches of the tight Toluca Lake course, drawn by the Aztecs’ top player, Jason Bittick?

Was it Grossmont senior Mike Swingle’s scrambling, five-over-par 145, giving him the boys’ individual title?

Or was it the nearly-unbelievable tour by 15-year-old Christy Erb, who fashioned a four-under-par 70, winning the girls’ title and breaking the course record 71?

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Each was outstanding, but the round put together by the diminutive Erb stood above all. The University City sophomore opened her 18-hole round with a double bogey, but then scored six birdies and an eagle on a course that her male counterparts found especially difficult.

Even Erb seemed surprised, considering that her previous best round was a 72. “I didn’t think I’d shoot 70,” she said. “I was hitting the ball well. I started with a double bogey, but the eagle helped.”

Erb said pitching and chipping were the strong points of her round, as evidenced by the eagle on nine, which dropped in the hole after a 25-yard pitch from the fairway.

Consistent pitching and putting brought Swingle success at Lakeside, also. It was a high pitch from the right rough on nine--his final hole--which set up a winning 10-foot putt for Swingle.

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“I scrambled pretty well,” Swingle said, still smiling after 36 holes in strong winds and heavy smog. “I didn’t think a playoff would be that bad, but I’m glad I made the par (on hole nine).”

Had Swingle missed the putt on nine, he would have been forced into a playoff against Chris Gonzales of Montebello Schurr and Chris Robinson of Highland of Bakersfield. Gonzales and Robinson both finished at 146.

Bittick, a big driver who scored 73 on the morning 18, was one the few who had played the exclusive Lakeside course previously, and his insights helped Esperanza to the team title.

“We went over the whole course last night in the hotel, on a chalkboard,” said Esperanza junior Dean DiMascio, displaying the notes outlined by Bittick that he and each of his teammates carried. “And we played as a team every day for the past two weeks. Teamwork did it for us.”

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Bittick finished the morning 18 with a 73, one stroke off the pace set by Swingle and defending champion O.D. Vincent of Palm Springs, but could manage only a 79 on the second 18, his long draw heavily effected by the wind.


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