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Westlake Roughed Up at Golf Championship

Times Staff Writer

More than any other sport, golf tortures its own. It massages the ego one minute and trashes it the next. If you tee it up, sooner or later, you’ll get teed off. Even if you’re playing well, it’s just a matter of time before you lose it.

Sometime during the past three weeks, Westlake High’s golf team lost it. The Warriors breezed to the Marmonte League championship and won the Southern Section team title in Santa Barbara on May 19. But Monday, at the CIF-Southern California Golf Assn. championship at Lakeside Golf Club in Toluca Lake, the Warriors bounced tee shots off trees, dumped approaches in bunkers and lost balls in the deep rough.

Of the six Westlake golfers at the tournament, only sophomore Jimmy Chang broke 80.

Making matters worse, Chris Zambri’s 79 was disqualified because a playing partner had written down the wrong score on Zambri’s score card.

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“The guy who was keeping his card put down that he parred No. 15,” Westlake Coach Lorin Maygren said. “But he really bogeyed. When the 79 went up on the board, Chris came to me and said that he really had an 80.”

Maygren went to tournament officials, but it was too late. Zambri was given the heave-ho.

Westlake finished 11 strokes behind tournament winner Esperanza, a team it had beaten in the Southern Section championships.

Said Westlake’s No. 1 player James Kim, who finished 10 over par with an 80: “We hadn’t played for three weeks, we weren’t prepared. The course was really tough. If you missed the fairway, the rough was so deep. It was hard to get to the green. Nobody played decent, except for Jimmy.”

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Chang shot a 74, which was among the tournament’s top 10 individual scores in the morning round, qualifying him for an 18-hole playoff round that afternoon.

But Chang offered further evidence of golf’s now-you-have-it-now-you-don’t nature. He bogeyed the first three holes and never really got untracked. He scrambled to the 79.

“I had trouble with the wind,” Chang said. “I had trouble picking out the right club. I had trouble hitting the ball well and the wind made it worse.”

Despite Chang’s troubles, Maygren was optimistic about his future. “He’s young, so he’s going through some growing spurts. Growing changes your swing, but he’s going to be OK. He is capable of playing major college golf.”

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Although Chang is only 15, he’s already caught the attention of college coaches. Shortly after his second round Monday, Chang had USC Coach Randy Lein on one side, Pepperdine Coach Bob Yokoi on the other.

Said Lein: “Jimmy’s got to pace himself. When he’s good, he’s good. But if it goes bad for him, sometimes he gives up, he doesn’t try.”

Seemingly, that’s the nature of the game. “When it goes bad,” Chang said, “it can really be bad. It makes life very unhappy.”


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