Wheatley advances to SoCal Regional Qualifier

Chase Wheatley, a Corona del Mar High senior, did his best to play smart at the CIF Southern Section Individual Final Championship at La Purisima Golf Course in Lompoc Monday.

The wind only created a more challenging round on the tricky course. But Wheatley continually tried to stick to a conservative game plan in his attempt to advance.

Wheatley, just as he did last week, didn't have a great start. But he finished strong.

He shot four-over-par 76 and was among the top 28 to advance to the CIF/SCGA Regional Qualifier at Brookside Golf Club in Pasadena May 30.

He is one step away from the state tournament.

Wheatley began his round with a double bogey on 17. But he responded with a birdie, his only one during the round. He had three other bogeys, but parred enough to get the job done to advance. He finished tied for 14th, two shots below the cut.

"That was pretty much the course for me, make pars and try to stay under 75," said Wheatley, who is bound for Rutgers. "I didn't know how anyone else was playing. I knew it was going to be tough with the wind. I felt that anything under 75 would be good, and even-par would be better."

Wheatley wasn't aware he advanced to Brookside until about 30 minutes after finishing his round. He began to get a good idea of his placement as he saw mostly high scores on the board.

"I was pretty relieved that I could leave on the four-hour drive home in peace," Wheatley said.

Wheatley said La Purisima tested him because several of the holes didn't require a driver off the tee.

"You just had to hit different shots," Wheatley said. "I couldn't hit driver all the time. I like to be aggressive, but I couldn't do that. I'm expecting the course to be a little more fun at Brookside than it was at La Purisima."

Wheatley also thinks Brookside will be fun since his family will likely attend since it is closer than La Purisima.

Wheatley must finish in the top six to advance to the CIF State Championship at Quail Lodge in Carmel June 5.

He said he has gained confidence from qualifying to advance at the CIF Southern Section Southern Individual Regional at Skylinks Golf Course in Long Beach last week then again on Monday out of La Purisima.

CdM Coach Mike Starkweather was there again to encourage Wheatley. Starkweather said he was extremely proud of Wheatley and his ability to advance.

Wheatley said it felt good to overcome the stress and pressure while in his pursuit to advance.

"I'm really happy to make the cut," Wheatley said. "There's a certain number I had to shoot. I now have a lot of confidence that I can do it. Even if I'm nervous I know I can do it. There's confidence from that you have to beat more than half the field just to continue. That's nice to know. From other tournaments too. It's a lot of confidence building up throughout the past couple of years."

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