Sunny Hills surprised two-time defending champion Palm Desert to win the Southern Section team golf title Monday.
All signs pointed to another easy Palm Desert victory. The Aztec players had spent the previous night in their own homes and made the short drive to the familiar 6,869-yard course at Canyon Country Club. Then they posted a score of 380, 17 strokes better than their title-winning score two years ago on this course.
But Sunny Hills matched the 380 and won a one-hole playoff by a stroke when sixth-man Matt Sims made a one-foot putt for bogey.
Santa Barbara San Marcos finished third in 388, Long Beach Millikan was fourth in 391. Esperanza (393), Los Angeles Loyola (395) and Huntington Beach (396) were the only other teams to break 400. The top four advanced to the CIF-Southern California Golf Assn. championships June 6 at Redlands Country Club.
Five Palm Desert players broke 80, led by senior Jeremy Whiting, who finished with a two-under-par 70, tying him with Torrance junior Ted Oh and San Marcos junior Mike Berg for the low round of the day.
Sunny Hills had four players under 80. Sophomore Terry Noe and freshman John Park each shot 72, freshman Jin Park shot 74 and Jenny Lee shot 79.
Sims, a senior who won an intra-team playoff to qualify to play Monday, shot 83, as did freshman Mike Kim.
In the playoff, Sunny Hills put on the pressure immediately. Jin Park made a five-foot putt for birdie on the 379-yard, par-4 first hole and Noe made par. Whiting made par and Paul Cotterell bogeyed, putting the Lancers ahead by two.
Palm Desert got a stroke back in the second foursome when Bryan Geiberger, son of PGA Senior player Al Geiberger, chipped in from the fringe for a birdie.
In the final group, Kim and Palm Desert's Nicole Dalkas made par and Palm Desert's Chris Meyerson made bogey, leaving Sims about a foot away from the winning bogey.
Sunny Hills Coach Tim Devaney said he was impressed that the Lancers could come to an unfamiliar course in the desert and beat one of the home teams.
"I think that's a credit to the fact that our kids have played some very good courses," Devaney said.
Esperanza, ranked second in Orange County one place ahead of Sunny Hills, finished fifth despite a solid score. Senior Chris Berry shot one-under 71, sophomore Ryan Donovan 74 and senior Jason Henderson 78. But no other Aztec broke 80.
Fourth-ranked Huntington Beach, which beat Sunny Hills in a dual match late in the regular season, also came up short. The Oilers had four players in the 70s: Gabe Shiwota (76), Jeff Farley (77), Greg Uberuaga (79) and Perry Dickey (79).
Dana Hills, the surprise winner of the Southern Regional title last week, finished ninth at 406. Matt Johnson (79) was the only Dolphin player to break 80.