Dana Hills' Feagler wins CIF-SS title on wild, windy day
DESERT HOT SPRINGS - Palm trees swayed helplessly. Golf bags fell like dominoes, occassionally breaking a club or two. Balls stopped on greens until they were slowly pushed back into fairways by the relentless wind, which was gusting up to 50 mph.
At times, just standing at Mission Lakes Country Club on Thursday was a challenge.
It almost didn’t seem fair the CIF-SS Individual Championship should be contested in such conditions. In the end, only one player finished with an even-par round. It belonged to Dana Hills junior Clay Feagler, who claimed a one-shot victory in the tournament with a 71.
It was an impressive score considering the conditions. He said he never felt comfortable over the ball and just “kind of winged it” on every shot, hoping to get no worse than a bogey. He carded three of those, but he also ended up with three birdies.
It was his second Southern Section tournament triumph. Last year, he won the CIF-SS Southern Individual Regional at Skylinks Golf Course by posting the only under-par round.
“This is the best that I could have played,” Feagler said. “You coudn’t get your ball in the air. Playing in conditions like this makes you try twice as hard. You had to make sure that you missed in the right spot, so you could get up and down. This feels good. It always feels good when you win.”
Brandon Kewalramani of Harvard-Westlake of Studio City finished second with a 72, and Marina senior Nick Swanson and Temescal Canyon sophomore Norman Xiong each shot 73 and tied for third. Swanson took home the third-place plaque because Xiong apparently had left the course and couldn’t tee off against Swanson in a playoff.
“It is not the windiest round of golf that I have played in, but it was right up there,” said Swanson, who finished with four birdies. “If you hit the ball in the air, you were done.”
He had a 10-foot putt for par on his final hole, but he said he was too agressive and took a three-putt bogey.
“That was pretty much the only putt I missed all day. Other than that I was lights out,” Swanson said. “This whole round was a grind.”
Feagler and Swanson qualified for the SCGA So Cal Championship in Pasadena next Thursday.
The cut for the tournament that sets the field for the CIF State Championship was a 79. Also advancing from county schools were Joseph Chun (Woodbridge), Brett Bennett (Huntington Beach), Samuel Kim (Northwood), Chris Adnams(Villa Park), Brandon Brame (Servite), Justin Kim (Sunny Hills), Padraic Foley (Tesoro), Hide Yoshihara (Woodbridge) and Jaden Kim (Sunny Hills).
“I didn’t putt well. All I was trying to do was make pars,” said Chun, who posted a 75 after bogeying his first two holes. “I was just trying to do the best that I could. I doubted myself all day becasue I was hitting it well, but it went somewhere else.”
Thursday’s tournament also served as an SCGA team qualifier, and Marina, Servite, Sunny Hills, Dana Hills, Santa Margarita and Woodbridge were trying to make it to the So Cal Championships. None of the teams qualified.
Marina and Woodbridge led the county schools with a 402, three shots away from the cutline.
“It was a tough day. It’s a little disppointing,” Marina coach Jim Morris said. “You can’t get much closer.”
CIF-SS Individual Championship/SCGA Team Qualifier
At Mission Lakes Country Club, par 71, Desert Hot Springs.
1. Clay Feagler (Dana Hills) 71, 2. Brandon Kewalramani (Harvard Westlake) 72, 3. Nick Swanson (Marina) 73, 4. Norman Xiong (Temescal Canyon) 73, 5. Justin Egelske (Westlake) 74, 6t. Davis Connor (Upland) 75, 6t. Spencer Soosman (Westlake) 75, 6t. Andrew Fernandes (Long Beach Wilson) 75, 6t. Joseph Chun (Woodbridge) 75, 10t. Devon Bling (Burroughs/Ridegcrest) 76, 10t. Collin Morikawa (La Canada) 76, 12t. Haoyuan Li (Great Oak) 77, 12t. Brett Bennett (Huntington Beach) 77, 12t. Samuel Kim (Northwood) 77, 12t. Roy Cootes (Palos Verdes) 77, 12t. Chris Admans (Villa Park) 77, 12t. Hunter Epson (Long Beach Wilson) 77, 18t. Darren Lin (Chino Hills) 78, 18t. Jeffrerson Kao (Diamond Bar) 78, 18t. Bryant Falconello (Loyola) 78, 18t. Peter Griffith (Oaks Christian) 78, 18t. Ryan Hoffenberg (Royal) 78, 18t. Brandon Brame (Servite) 78, 18t. Justin Kim (Sunny Hills) 78, 18t. Padraic Foley (Tesoro) 78, 18t. Jacob Johnson (Ventura) 78, 18t. Hide Yoshihara (Woodbridge) 78, 28t. Tim Davis (Great Oak) 79*, 28t. Ray Navis (Nipomo) 79*, 28t. Andy Eppright (San Luis Obispo) 79*, 28t. Jaden Kim (Sunny Hills) 79*
*Advanced through playoff
1. Westlake 378, 2. Palm Desert 388, 3. San Marcos 395, 4. Loyola 399, 5. Agoura 400. 6t. Marina 402, 6t. Woodbridge 402, 8. Servite 403, 9t. Dana Hills 407, 9t. Great Oak 407, 11. Sunny Hills 410, 12. La Canada 420, 13. Palos Verdes 421, 14. Santa Margarita 424
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