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Girls golf coach of the year: Mike Starkweather, Corona del Mar
After the CIF-SS officials had totaled up all of the scores at the Southern Team Regional, Corona del Mar girls golf coach Mike Starkweather gathered his team’s players around a table in the clubhouse at Lakewood Country Club
The history lesson was about to begin.
He has coached golf at the school for two decades, he told them, and the second-place plaque sitting in the middle of their huddle was the first prize he had ever taken home after a girls golf tournament.
The Sea Kings tied for first with La Serna in the Lakewood regional by shooting a 391, but the Lancers’ sixth player beat the Sea Kings’ sixth player by five strokes, meaning La Serna won the tiebreaker and the Sea Kings had to settle for second place.
That didn’t diminish the accomplishment for Starkweather, who has been selected the Register’s girls golf coach of the Year. Since that day in early November, he has shown the plaque to just about everyone at the school. Eventually it will find a permament place alongside the other trophies in the school’s front office. But Starkweather isn’t ready to let go of it just yet.
The Sea Kings posted the lowest score in relation to par out of all the Orange County teams that competed in team regionals this season.
“It’s amazing when you have a core of girls that have such good goals and play together to support each other,” Starkweather said. “It has been dramatic. You have a sense when you have done it long enough when you have this meshing of personalities, and to see how well it worked, you just knew that it was going to be a winner.
“This is the first time I have had that with the girls. It was a great wave.”
After their breakthrough in the southern regional, the Sea Kings posted a 404 at the WSCGA Southern State Regional qualifier at Western Hills Country Club. They were not one of top four teams, so they didn’t advance to the CIF State Championship.
Starkweather made the trip to Pebble Beach for the final after Amy Matsuoka and Alyaa Abdulghany qualified as individuals. They were the first players from CdM to get that far. Abdulghany ended up winning the tournament, firing a record-setting 2-under-par 69 at Poppy Hills.
“It was really great to see coach being so happy. He does a lot more (than just ride around in a golf cart at the course),” Abdulghany said. “After all of the hard work that we put into getting better, everyone started putting in more effort, we started progressing. It was great to see everything get put together so well for him.”
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