Yu claims Pacific title again

For somebody who just won a second consecutive individual Pacific League championship, Justin Yu wasn't overly thrilled.

The senior Crescenta Valley High boys' golfer didn't turn in the type of performance he believed should merit elite status despite winning by a whopping 12 strokes.

Yu carded a seven-over-par 77 on Wednesday afternoon to take the league title at Brookside Golf Course No. 2 in Pasadena.

“Seven-over-par isn't a good round for me,” said Yu, who recorded a three-round score of 213 to topple Arcadia's Erik Stratton (225). “For me to have a good round, it can be no worse than two or three over.

“I went out there trying to do my best. Winning it is an honor. I'm glad I won, but I'm just not happy with my score.”

Yu was one of three Falcons to move on to the CIF Southern Section Northern Boys' Individual Regional, which will be held at 7:30 a.m. May 12 at Sterling Hills Country Club in Camarillo. Yu will be joined by teammates Kory Barkley and Michael McKinley and Stratton. Barkley had a 79 on Wednesday for a two-round score of 228 to finish third, and McKinley notched a 76 (233) to grab the fourth and final spot.

Yu, who helped the Falcons capture their fourth straight league championship last week, said he had some difficulties putting things together Wednesday. On the front nine, he had five bogeys and two birdies. Then he had three double-bogeys on the back nine before notching birdies on the 15th and 16th holes.

“I just had a rough beginning,” said Yu, who earned all-league honors along with Barkley, McKinley, Stratton, Tammy Panich of Glendale and Eric Yin of Arcadia. “Having a 10-stroke lead coming into the final round, I didn't really feel any pressure.

“With me, I always have to consider the score.”

Veteran Crescenta Valley Coach John Pehar said Yu might have been a bit to conservative in the final round.

“The conditions were tough today with the slow pace of play,” said Pehar, whose team will next participate in the CIF Southern Section Western Team Divisional at Montebello Golf Course at 8 a.m. Monday. “He probably played a little conservative, and his short game seemed to suffer a little bit.

“He wanted to play better. He played good enough against some tough competition.”

Panich, a junior, fired an 81 for a two-round score of 235 to finish tied for fifth with Yin.

Panich, who earned All-Area accolades on the girls' team last year, put up a quality effort despite struggling with her short game.

“I could have done a lot better,” said Panich, who led Glendale to a fifth-place finish in league. “My short game was really bad, and I lost my swing.

“I could have made some more putts. I liked my drive, and I gain a lot of distance playing with the guys. I don't feel as much pressure playing with the guys.”

Josh Ward and Kevin Barkley of Crescenta Valley finished in four-way tie for sixth (239) with Kevin Shim of Hoover and Stefen Aizumi of Arcadia. Crescenta Valley's Michael Timpson had a two-round score of 242 to place seventh followed by Burbank's Matt Kurihara (243).

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