Brian Edick of Hart High isn't physically imposing at 5 feet 6 and 135 pounds.
But his mental toughness could make him the next standout golfer in a Hart program that produced Jason Gore, Jason Semelsberger, Mike Miller, Shane O'Brien, Charlie Smith and Ryan Wyman in the 1990s.
"I don't want to put too much pressure on him, but I think he can be one of our best," said Coach Dennis Ford of Hart. "The reason I say that is because he believes he can be one of our best."
Edick, a sophomore, was Hart's No. 2 player in the CIF-Southern California Golf Assn. championships on June 8 and he has continued to play well this summer.
He shot 71-76--147 to tie for first in a U.S. Golf Assn. junior qualifying tournament at Ft. Washington Country Club in Fresno last week, earning one of three spots available in the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship at Country Club of York in York, Pa., starting Tuesday.
"My goal is to advance to [the match-play portion of the tournament]," Edick said. "I'm not going in there thinking I can win the thing, but if I can get to match play, I'll be happy."
The junior championships will consist of 18 holes of medal play on each of the first two days, before the field is cut from 156 to 64 players for match play.
First- and second-round matches will be played on the third day, followed by third-round and quarterfinal matches on the fourth, and semifinals and the final on the fifth.
"I just started playing better golf at the end of the high school season," Edick said. "And when you do that, things start to build on themselves. You don't think of any bad things when you're playing well. Your confidence just keeps building."
Ford, who guided Hart to a fourth-place tie in the CIF-SCGA championships in his 10th season at the school, says Edick's dedication to improving his short game has keyed his success.
"He knows that the short game is really important and he spends a lot of time working on that aspect of his game," Ford said. "He's not just one of those kids who goes out there and rips it."
Edick, who turned 15 on July 1, started playing golf when he was 9. He split time between baseball, soccer and golf before focusing on golf when he was 13.
"Golf was the most frustrating sport I'd ever played," he said. "But it was also the most challenging. I knew that if I ever wanted to get really good at it, I'd have to spend a lot more time playing it."
Edick said his parents weren't thrilled about him concentrating on one sport at his age, but they began to understand his seriousness when he told them he wanted to earn a college scholarship.
Edick didn't get off to a blazing start at Hart, however. He played on the Indians' junior varsity for the first three matches last season before moving up to varsity.
"It was a little slower than I thought it would be," Edick said of adjusting to high school play. "But then I started dedicating myself more to my short game."
The hard work paid dividends at the end of the season. Edick was Hart's top player in the Southern Section individual championships at Canyon Country Club in Palm Springs and in the Northern regional at La Cumbre Country Club in Santa Barbara.
Those performances have Ford envisioning big things from Edick.
"He's not going to be able to overpower a lot of courses because of his size," Ford said. "But when he gets it rolling, he can make some putts and he has that short game."