Jin Park could no longer find the strength to pick up a club after playing golf for nearly a decade.
After competing on the Glendale Community College men’s golf team in 2011, Park opted to take last season off because of exhaustion. Feeling refreshed and having the urge to grip a club again, Park chose to return to the Vaqueros this season.
Park’s decision proved to be a wise one.
After two solid rounds at the Western State Conference Tournament on Monday at Soule Park Golf Course in Ojai, Park extended his season and will next participate in the Southern California Regionals on May 6 at Los Lagos Costa Mesa Golf and Country Club.
“It means a lot to come back and then advance like that,” said Park, who placed fifth overall after opening with a two-under-par 70 before finishing up with a 72 during the second round for a total of 142. “I just needed a break and I got a lot of support when I decided to come back from my family and friends.
“I had a solid but not great first round. I was able to hold things together. In the second round, I was three-under at one point, but got a little tired toward the end.”
Park, a Burbank High graduate, closed out the second round by recording a birdie on the par-five 18th hole.
Glendale did not qualify as a team for the Southern California Regionals. The top three teams automatically qualify for the postseason.
In a neck-and-neck battle with Ventura, which hosted Monday’s action, Glendale owned a 375-376 lead through the first round. However, Ventura battled back to register a 373-380 win in the second round and grab the last playoff berth by six strokes (749-755).
“It was up to us to come up here and beat Ventura,” Glendale Coach Greg Osbourne said. “I thought we could do it after the first round.
“We did everything we could. The team isn’t devastated. Playing 36 holes is very hard to do. Right now, I’m so happy with what Jin was able to do. He worked so hard to get back here and move on and we are proud of him. I would love to see him go on to state.”
College of the Canyons finished first with a two-round score of 727, followed by Santa Barbara (732). Ventura took third at 749, followed by Glendale (755), Bakersfield (767), Citrus (770) and Allan Hancock (777).
The Vaqueros received an opening-round score of 73 from Clayton Ojeda, who then finished with a 74 for 147. Win Kyaw of Glendale had a pair of 76s for 152. Tavit Garabedian opened with a 77 and then had a 79 for a 156 for Glendale, which received two 79s from Ryan Miranada for 158.
“I really wanted the team to go [to the regionals],” Park said. “We just couldn’t quite get there.”