LOS ANGELES — Vince De Pinto had plenty of confidence entering the final round of the two-round Mission League Individual Tournament on Wednesday.
One more solid 18-hole round would enable the St. Francis High senior golfer to be a part of the CIF Southern Section Individual Tournament for the first time in his career.
De Pinto punched his ticket into the postseason, as he carded a three-over-par 75 to finish fifth in league at Griffith Park’s Wilson Course.
“It feels great to be able to move on,” said De Pinto, who entered Wednesday’s action atop the leader board after opening with a three-under-par 69 on Tuesday at Lakewood Country Club before finishing with a two-round score of 144. “I knew what I needed to do.
“I made a lot of putts for par. The plan coming into the last round was to be aggressive on the first nine holes and see where I matched up with my opponents. Then, I was able to par the last 10 holes.”
Joining De Pinto from St. Francis, which finished second in league to qualify for the CIF Southern Section Central Team Divisional on Monday at Lakewood, in advancing to the individual tournament was Michael Mozilo. Mozilo earned the last of nine qualifying spots by winning a three-player playoff on the par-five first hole.
The individual tournament will take place May 13 at River Ridge Golf Course in Oxnard.
Mozilo tapped in a put from about six inches to earn a birdie. Harvard-Westlake’s Jeffrey Aronson and Patrick Blay of Loyola registered a bogey and double-bogey, respectively, in the playoff.
“I was kind of nervous at first,” said Mozilo, who finished with a 75 for a two-round tally of 148. “My first shot landed near a tree, but I had enough room to get out of there using a four iron.
“My third shot was about 65 yards and got me near the hole. I was thinking don’t miss this putt. Then I made it.”
St. Francis first-year Coach Kyle Ostrom said De Pinto, who earned all-league accolades, and Mozilo showed they could navigate their way through the stiff competition.
“Vince had a great first round and he knew what he needed to get done in the final round,” Ostrom said. “He should be proud in advancing.
“With Michael, he found himself in a tight situation going into the playoff, but he went out there and embraced it. He made a nice shot to get him close to the hole and then he birdied it.”
Justin De Los Santos of Chaminade won the league title with a 69 on Wednesday. He finished up at 140, edging Loyola’s Blake Meek (72) and Crespi’s Troy Kuramarohit (71) by two strokes.
Also competing for the Golden Knights were Johnny Brandt, Jack Tenney and Michael Finney. Brandt shot a 76 to finish at 149. Tenney carded an 82 for a two-round tally of 148. Finney had a 77 for 156.
Also qualifying were Bakari Bolden of Harvard-Westlake, who had a 70 to finish at 144, Daniel Lopez of Loyola (72 for 144), Andrew Gowanlock of Sherman Oaks Notre Dame (71 for 144) and Zareh Kaloustian of Notre Dame (71 for 144).