La Cañada High boys' golf Coach Richard Tetu thought his team had the depth to make a run in the CIF Team playoffs this year, but the Spartans missed the cut for the next round by three strokes in the CIF Southern Section Northern Team Divisional on Monday.
La Cañada tied for fourth in the event at the Soule Park Golf Club in Ojai. That left the Spartans a little short, as the top three teams out of 19-team field advanced to the next round. The Spartans carded a 396, tying for fourth with Arcadia — three strokes away from third. Saugus (383), West Ranch (392) and Westlake (393) all advanced out of the Northern Division.
"You have to have the stars align perfectly to have five teenagers each play their best at one time," Tetu said. "It just doesn't happen that often."
Jay Lim shot an even-par 72, Joshua Suh fired a 78, Derek Patao had a 79, Daniel Rhee carded an 83, Noah Bernstein had an 84 and Andrew Park rounded out the Spartans' top-six with a 95.
However, the postseason is far from over for Lim, Patao, Suh and Bernstein. All four advanced to the CIF Individual Regional, to be held Monday at Las Posas Country Club in Camarillo. The players earned a spot in the event after placing among the top six at the Rio Hondo League finals May 5 at Marshall Canyon Golf Course in La Verne.
Lim continued his league dominance in the tournament, shooting a two-day total of 139 overall to take first place by eight strokes. Patao and Temple City's Justin Sandin tied for second with 147. Suh and Bernstein filled in the fourth and fifth places after putting up a 150 and 153, respectively.
The Rio Hondo League was given more slots to send players to the CIF Individual Tournament this year, which opened the door for more Spartans to get a crack at the postseason.
"It did not surprise me at all that four of those guys made it," said Tetu, who's lauded the depth and balance on the team this year.
San Marino's Ben Allen (154) took sixth in league, but La Cañada could be sending five golfers to the individuals after Spartans' Daniel Rhee (158) earned a spot as an alternate.
"We have had a lot more success in the individual side of these tournaments over the years," Tetu said. "Golf is an individual sport and it's a whole different mindset playing for yourself than your teammates; there's a lot less pressure, I think."
Tetu said he can see Lim, Patao, Suh and Bernstein all moving on to the next round of the individual playoffs.
"I'm very optimistic," he said. "It won't even require their best round. A 73 or 75 will usually get you to the next level and I think all four of those kids can do that."