La Cañada golfer Collin Morikawa able to advance in CIF

With his season hanging in the balance, Collin Morikawa needed a quick turnaround.

The La Cañada High boys' golfer had struggled during portions of his round Monday at the CIF Southern Section Individual Championship at La Purisima Golf Course in Lompoc. He found his short game in time and added an eagle for good measure.

Morikawa carded a two-over-par 74 to finish tied for 10th at the event, qualifying him for the Southern California Golf Assn. Qualifying Tournament at Brookside Golf Course No. 1 in Pasadena on May 30.

"I was thinking in the back of my mind that the cut was going to be a 75," said Morikawa, the reigning All-Area Boys' Golfer of the Year. "I was five over with five holes to play and I had to turn things around quickly.

"I had four bogeys in a row to that point."

Morikawa, who has won two Rio Hondo League individual championships in a row, saw his fortunes turn for the better. He recorded a birdie on the first hole and later hit about a 100-foot shot for an eagle on the par-4 fourth hole to put him at two-over before parring his final hole.

"I hit my driver a lot better later on [in the round]," he said. "You never know what the cut is going to be. The eagle helped me out, even though I didn't hit it my best. The main thing was that I was able to hang in there. It's great to move on."

Morikawa tied with Clay Feagler of Dana Hills. The cut was 78.

The field consisted of 96 players, with the top 28 advancing to Brookside. The state championship will be held June 5 at Quail Lodge Resort and Golf Club in Carmel.

La Cañada Coach Richard Tetu, who piloted the Spartans to the league championship and a fifth-place finish at the CIF Southern Section Northern Team Divisional in Ojai, said Morikawa found a way to prevail.

"He's such an experienced player, and I think that eagle boosted his confidence quite a bit," said Tetu, who was named the All-Area Boys' Coach of the Year last season.

Joshua Suh and Robby Stehlin of La Cañada also competed Monday. Suh registered an 80 to finish in a 13-way tie for 46th. Stehlin had an 86 to wind up in a two-way tie for 81st.

Tetu praised the seasons that Suh and Stehlin compiled.

"I really thought Joshua would make it to the next round, and he's been our best golfer the last three years," Tetu said. "With Robby, he came in [from Florida] and made us a competitor."

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