Freshman Quast wins the Empire League
CHINO HILLS – Tyler Quast is so new to high school golf that he’s really not sure what the postseason holds in store or who even earns a spot in the CIF tournaments.
But if the Yorba Linda freshman can match what he did in the Empire League finals, he just might have a say in who gets to call themselves a Southern Section champion this season.
Quast opened the league tournament with four consecutive birdies and posted a 4-under 68 during the first round on North Course at Los Serranos Country Club, making him the only player in the field to come in under par. It also gave him a five shot lead in the 36-hole tournament.
While playing on the longer South Course during Wednesday’s final round, Quast struggled with his irons, and posted a 12-over 86, but the advantage he gained on the North Course was enough to make Quast the Empire League champion.
He finished with an 8-over 154, which put him two shots in front of his Yorba Linda teammate, Andrew Kitchner.
“It feels awesome winning league … in my first year in high school. It’s amazing,” Quast said.
Kitchner carded the lowest score in the final round, a 3-over 77. But Kitchner’s 79 on the North Course in the first round on Tuesday, left him 11 strokes out of the lead, heading into Wednesday’s final round. Michael Shum (157) and John Shin (157), who both play for Valencia, rounded out the top four. They will join Quast and Kitchner at the CIF-SS Southern Individual Regional at Skylinks Golf Course in Long Beach on May 14.
“I am still trying to figure out how CIF works. I have heard there is a second round,” Quast said.
He’s correct. The individual championship will be played in Riverside at Victoria Country Club on May 21. Last season the top 37 players from the Southern Regional advanced to the championship round.
“That many made it? I think I can do that,” Quast said. “So that is what I want to do now, make it to the second round, and then see if I can go farther.”
The 68 that he posted on Tuesday would have given him a five shot lead in the first round Century League finals. That league played the North Course on Wednesday, and after posting a 1-over 73, Brea Olinda’s Michael Choe holds a one-stroke lead over defending CIF-SS champion Kethan Reddy and Kyle Desilva, who both play for Villa Park.
Poor course management and some mental mistakes, Choe said, cost him more than a few strokes in Wednesday’s first round.
“I hope that (a 1-stroke lead) will be enough to win,” Choe said after working on the putting green after his round for close to half an hour. “I am hitting it really well, and putting it really well. I just have to make some better decisions. That is what held me back today.”
The Century League will hold its final round on the South Course today, and bringing a one-shot lead there, Reddy said “is nothing.”
“I feel like as long as I pay attention to who I am playing with, I can win. I would normally say that I would just try to beat the course and ignore who I am playing with,” Reddy said, “but when it is an isolated situation like this and unlikely that people will come out of the back and win, you just want to focus on who you are playing with.”
Empire League Championships
Played at Los Serranos Country Club, North Course, par 72; South Course par 74
Top 4 advance to CIF-SS Southern Regional
1. Tyler Quast (Yorba Linda) 154; 2. Andrew Kitchner (Yorba Linda) 156; 3t. Michael Shum (Valencia) 157; 3t. John Shin (Valencia) 157; 5. Frankie Simpson (Cypress) 159; 6. Justin Fernandez (Valencia) 160; 7. Chris Yang (Yorba Linda) 162; 8. Derek Ing (Cypress) 163; 9. Chris Rangel (Tustin) 166; 10. Judd Baguiero (Cypress) 170; 11. Matt Alayra (Valencia) 171; 12. Brian Lin (Valencia) 187