An elongated trip to play a crucial round of golf won’t be necessary this time for Collin Morikawa.
Instead of traveling multiple hours to a venue, the La Cañada High boys’ golfer will make the short trek to Brookside Golf Course No. 1 in Pasadena to participate in the CIF/Southern California Golf Assn. Qualifying Tournament at 8 a.m. Thursday.
There’s plenty at stake for Morikawa, who will look to advance to the CIF State Golf Championship on June 5 at Quail Lodge Resort and Golf Club in Carmel.
Morikawa will be among the field of 28 that will take part in Thursday’s 18-hole round on the par-72 course adjacent to the Rose Bowl.
Morikawa, the reigning All-Area Boys’ Golfer of the Year, might have an advantage over many of the participants. He’s familiar with the course setting and environment after La Cañada competed in several regular-season matches there this season.
“It will be a big help already knowing the course,” said Morikawa, a sophomore who has won two Rio Hondo League individual championships in a row and advanced to Thursday’s competition after carding a two-over-par 74 to finish tied for 10th at the CIF Southern Section Individual Championship at La Purisima Golf Course in Lompoc on May 20. “I like to believe that it’s pretty much having a home-course advantage.
“Everything is already straight forward to me regarding the course. At the same time, you can’t take the course for granted and I’ll be up against a lot of great players. I think the scores are going to be low, maybe three- or four-under. I am going to treat this like a regular tournament round and stick to the things I’ve been doing well lately.”
The top three teams and top nine individuals not on qualifying teams punch their ticket to the state match.
La Cañada Coach Richard Tetu, who guided the Spartans to the league championship and a fifth-place finish at the CIF Southern Section Northern Team Divisional, said he planned to cover the course’s structure with Morikawa.
“There aren’t too many people as familiar with the course as Collin,” Tetu said. “He’s played the course a lot of times.
“Some holes are obviously different than others. You know the greens will likely be fast. There are some par-four and par-five holes that can be attacked and he can try for birdies on those. I think he can do well and has a chance to get to state.”