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Burbank boys' golfer Nakao takes first in Pacific League match

ARCADIA — JJ Nakao continues to dazzle for the Burbank High boys’ golf team, especially in Pacific League matches.

But that doesn’t surprise Burbank coach Doug Grimshaw.

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Battling some windy conditions, Nakao carded a one-over-par 72 to finish first in the third league contest at Santa Anita Golf Course on Thursday.

Burroughs paved the way among the area teams with a second-place finish, followed by Crescenta Valley and Burbank.

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Nakao, a sophomore and reigning All-Area selection, fired a one-under-par 35 on the front nine before shooting a two-over-37 over the final nine holes. It marked the second straight top-two finish in league for Nakao, who shot a two-under-par 70 to take second on March 14 at Griffith Park’s Harding Course in Los Angeles.

“He’s just an incredible golfer,” Grimshaw said. “He’s so good in that he knows how to adjust if he has a bad shot or two.

“He had some shots today that were bad for him, yet he found a way to score great and finish first.”

Nakao edged Arcadia’s Josh Kwon and Justin Chen by two strokes and Lincoln Melcher of Burroughs by three.

Playing on its home course, Arcadia, the defending league champion, carded a 379. Burroughs placed second at 395, followed by Crescenta Valley (415), Burbank (428) and Pasadena (461).

Burroughs turned in another impressive effort, leaving coach Greg Everhart pleased.

“I think our guys have been playing well here the last couple of years,” said Everhart, whose team is in second in league behind Arcadia with three matches remaining. “It’s great when you can come to a tough course like this and then break 400, so we are where we want to be right now.

“We are continuing to see a lot of players shooting lower scores. It can only help your confidence when you can get under 400.”

In addition to Melcher, an Indians freshman who took first with a 69 at Harding, the Indians received a 77 from Kodiak Hernandez, 81s from Ryan McGowan and Jake Panikowski and an 82 from Nicco Coccio.

Crescenta Valley turned in its best league effort Thursday, with Nate Frink leading the way for the Falcons at 76.

Crescenta Valley, fourth in league, got an 81 from Hank Norman, 85 from Andrew Hong, 86 from Jayden Chung and 87 from Justin Ortega.

“It’s good to get third place, but we are better than a 415 score,” Crescenta Valley coach Mark Samford said. “Some of our guys shot a little bit better today, so we’ll look to use that as a positive.

“We have the potential for our guys to shoot in the 70s. Whether or not that happens is a whole different thing.”

Burbank, third in league, received an 85 from Frank Maslyk, 87 from Kevin Kienlen, 89 from Hayden Chase and a 95 from Louie Calzado.

“Many of our guys today didn’t shoot what they are capable of shooting,” Grimshaw said. “We’ll find a way to bounce back.”

Arcadia got a 77 from Warren Oetojo and 78s from Andy Zang and Kylen Yu.

The fourth league match will take place at 12:30 p.m. April 8 at De Bell Golf Club in Burbank, followed by another match at 12:30 p.m. April 11 at the same site. The final league match will be held April 18 at a time to be determined at Hansen Dam Golf Course in Pacoima.

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