La Cañada High senior Anton Arboleda sank a miraculous shot from 120 yards out with his nine-iron on the final swing of his high school golfing career.
His shot on the 18 hole of the CIF Southern California Golf Assn. High School Championship on June 3 kept his hopes of finishing among the top six alive.
When Arboleda got back to the clubhouse he discovered the scores were surprisingly low. Although he shot a 69 to go three-under par at the end of the day, he was still two shots away from advancing.
"It was a great event and he played beautifully, but he came up just short," said Arboleda's Coach, Richard Tetu.
A top-six finish would have qualified him for the State Championship.
"I knew I had to at least birdie to have a chance to get in the playoff," Arboleda said. "I hit it but couldn't see the pin. I heard people yelling, and when I got to the green I saw it had went in. It was pretty crazy."
Arboleda placed 17th out of 123 players.
"I am still happy with the way I played," Arboleda said. "If you would have told me I'd shoot a 69 the day before I would have taken that. I thought that would've been enough."
He qualified for the event by carding a 72 to finish in a nine-way tie for fifth place last month in the Southern Section Northern Individual Regional at River Ridge Golf Club's Vineyard Course in Oxnard.
Unfortunately, the magic in Arboleda's nine-iron wasn't contagious, as he struggled with his putter throughout the day.
"He played from the tee to the green beautifully," Tetu said. "He probably hit almost every fairway off the tee and most of the greens. But when it came to putting, it seemed like everything was lipping out. Sometimes they don't go in."
Arboleda had an eagle, five birdies and two double bogeys on the day. He said he started out strong and struggled during the middle of his round before turning it around again down the stretch.
Even though Arboleda came up a little short, he still had a phenomenal high school career. Tetu described Arboleda as not only an outstanding player, but a leader as well.
During Arboleda's four years at La Cañada, the Spartans had a record of 59-7. Out of the seven losses, Tetu estimates that Arboleda wasn't present for four of them.
"Statistically speaking, he is the best golfer we've ever had here — period," Tetu said.
Arboleda's play earned him a partial scholarship to UCLA, where he will start in the fall.
With his high school career behind him, Arboleda isn't taking the summer off. He is scheduled to compete in a number of tournaments through the break, as he continues to hone his game for the next level.
"Graduation is going to be bittersweet," Arboleda said. "I've had a really fun high school career, but I am definitely ready to try new things and go new places."