His Talent Is Not Skin-Deep

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Tens of thousands of dollars weren't up for grabs.

Nor was the competition shown live on network television.

Yet, Brian Edick of Hart High credits his participation in two skins games golf tournaments in April for his strong finish to the high school season in May and June.

Edick, The Times' Valley-Ventura County boys' player of the year, averaged 1.9-strokes-over par per 18 holes played during the season.

But his average was 2.7 strokes under par in his final four tournaments, capped by a five-under par 67 that tied him for first place in regulation play of the CIF-Southern California Golf Assn. high school tournament at the SCGA Members' Club in Murrieta on June 5.

Edick, a junior, lost to senior Brandon Hillpot of Colton on the first hole of the sudden-death playoff, but was elated with the improvement in his mental game over the final month of the season.

"Playing in those [skins games] totally changed my attitude," Edick said. "On every hole, I was thinking, 'Let's try to make a birdie.'. . . It was probably the quickest mental transformation I've ever made with my game. I've been playing with a completely different mental attitude since.

"If I got to one or two under before, I'd just say, 'Let's just get it in the house.' Now if I get to two under, I'm thinking, 'Let's try to get another birdie on this next hole.' "

Coach Dennis Ford, who guided Hart to 11 Foothill League titles in 12 years before retiring this month, saw the difference in Edick's game.

"He got stronger mentally," Ford said. "He wasn't uncomfortable with being under par.

"Before, he'd get a little nervous when he got a couple of strokes under par."

Greater focus in practice and improved physical conditioning also contributed to Edick's success.

Ford said Edick worked harder in practice this season and Edick agreed.

"I made it a point to really focus during my practice sessions," he said. "Before, there were times when I'd take it a little easy.

"But this year, I did more drills in my practice sessions. I went out to practice with a greater idea of what I wanted to accomplish."

Edick, who tied for fourth in the Southern Section individual tournament and was one of three medalists in the Northern team regional, also added running, weight training and flexibility exercises to his training regimen.

"I just wanted to be stronger," said the 5-foot-7, 135-pound Edick. "I know everyone says that the short game is the key to golf, but I didn't want to just give up 30 or 40 yards off every tee shot."

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

ALL-REGION GOLF TEAM

FIRST TEAM

Player of the year

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Player School Year Brian Edick Hart Junior

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*

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Player School Year Kyle Dowden Camarillo Sophomore

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The Pacific View League champion was the No. 3 finisher in the Central Coast team regional. He averaged 74.2 strokes per 18 holes.

*

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Player School Year Matt Fields Harvard-Westlake Senior

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Fields tied for third in Mission League play and was the No. 6 finisher from the region in the Southern Section championships.

*

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Player School Year Brian O'Flaherty Westlake Senior

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O'Flaherty won the Marmonte League title, was a co-medalist in the Northern individual regional and tied for third in the CIF-SCGA tournament. He averaged 2.5 strokes-over par per 18 holes.

*

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Player School Year Jeff Osborn Flintridge Prep Senior

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Osborn tied for sixth in the CIF-SCGA tournament and tied for third in the Northern regional. He averaged 0.7 strokes-over par per nine holes.

*

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Player School Year Colin Wilcox Camarillo Freshman

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The Pacific View League runner-up tied for 10th in the Southern Section championships and was the No. 4 finisher from the region in the CIF-SCGA tournament. He averaged 73.8 strokes per 18 holes.

SECOND TEAM

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Player School Year Jeremy Bovill Agoura Freshman Jacob Curtier Quartz Hill Senior James Logeman Oak Park Senior Doug Miller Westlake Senior Michael Park Crescenta Valley Junior Devlin Thomas Nordhoff Senior

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