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CHS golf continues its up and down season

It’s a bit embarrassing, but this COURIER reporter did not determine in advance whether Tuesday’s boys golf match between Claremont High School and Colony would be competitive. After all, the last two teams the Pack faced resulted in nail biting, edge of your seat contests, so what could go wrong? As it turns out: everything.

Colony showed up late, they did not have a JV team and only had three varsity golfers—only one with any experience. The other two, a boy and a girl, appeared to have never played the game before. The result was a forfeiture, but Claremont still needed to complete the round, and do well.

Coach Terrance Lynch, who is looking down the road at qualifying his team for post-season play, cautioned his team not to get distracted by slow play.

The first place school earns a berth to the CIF championships automatically, but every other Palomares League team needs eight qualifying rounds to advance. At Marshall Canyon, Claremont’s home course, that meant shooting 205 or under.

The boys stepped up, shooting a 203 in one of their better days on the links this season.

“We beat Damien by one stroke, that would have been a great story,” senior Andrew Hammill said.

Duly noted, Mr. Hammill. On February 27, the Pack defeated the Spartans, 213-214, at Marshall, followed by a 198-245 drubbing of South Hills, and then two very close matches against Bonita.

On March 5, Claremont pulled off a very rare tie against Bonita, 205-205, at Marshall, which is also the Bearcats’ home course. According to Coach Lynch, ties are usually broken by including the throw away score, but that was tied too (CIF rules allow each team to throw out the highest score of the match). In a rematch with the Bearcats on March 7, the Pack lost, 205-202.

Last week the Pack lost a pair of matches to Glendora, starting with a close 205-201 outing at Marshall on Tuesday, and then a 229-203 round on Thursday at the Tartan’s home course, Glendora Country Club. Coach Lynch said Glendora Country Club is a very hard course because the boys only see it twice a year, so they cannot learn the techniques of playing each hole.

On Tuesday junior Ryan Slater and senior Wyatt Iles shot a three over par 38, followed by sophomore Connor Reis at 41, Hammill, 42, senior Jordan Kaiser, 44, and senior Efren Herrera, 48.

“I think we are better than a year ago, and still have a lot of golf to play,” Coach Lynch said. “We have good senior leadership. Andrew Hamill is a good golfer and he leads by example, and Wyatt Iles is here every day, doesn’t miss and works hard.”

Claremont’s top two scorers, Reis and Slater, will be the clutch players as the season progresses. As a freshman, Reis was MVP, and he is shooting better than ever according to Coach Lynch. He spent the winter playing soccer and is a talented athlete. Slater has really come into his own as a junior, and was the Pack’s top finisher, placing 11th overall at league finals last year.

“Ryan and Connor have only lost to their opponents once this season at Glendora last week, and they lost by only one stroke,” Coach Lynch said.

In two weeks, Claremont will have a tough couple of matches against Ayala, which is the best team left on the schedule according to Coach Lynch.

“I think it was a four-team race until Alta Loma beat Bonita last week. I was a little surprised by that,” Coach Lynch said. “Even though we dug ourselves a bit of a hole, it is a long season and other teams will knock each other off. But what is nice about golf is that it’s a team sport and an individual sport. I think we have kids who can advance into individual CIF by finishing first team all league which, is the top six players.”

The Pack has played four league matches and has eight left, so there will be ample opportunity to turn the tide.

As a side note, Coach Lynch had a few thoughts about Claremont’s star girls golfer Kelly Xu who will be a sophomore next season. “She is coming back, as far as I know, unless she turns pro,” he said. Apparently Xu will attempt to qualify for the U.S. Open during a tournament at Industry Hills in May. She has to play 36 holes and place at the top of the amateur field. “I would not bet against her,” Coach Lynch said.

—Steven Felschundneff

steven@claremont-courier.com

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