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Woodbridge's Yoshihara moves on to CIF State Championship
PASADENA – Woodbridge's Hide Yoshihara is following in his little sister's footsteps.
On Thursday at Brookside Golf Club, the senior shot a 3-under-par 69 to tie for fourth in the SCGA So Cal Championships and become the only Orange County boys golfer to qualify for the CIF State Championship.
He also evened the score in the Yoshihara sibling rivalry.
In November, his sister, Yuki Yoshihara, ended her freshman season on the Warriors girls golf team by qualifying for the prestigious high school tournament.
They each are the first golfers to represent their respective Woodbridge teams at the state tournament.
"I finally made it to state, and this means a lot in my last year,” Yoshihara said. “This really means a lot to me. To shoot 69 on this course for me is amazing.”
As for catching up to his sister, he said, “Finally, but she is a freshman."
Yoshihara was one of the five golfers in the 124-player field to break 70. Charlie Reiter (Palm Desert) won with a 67. Matthew Wolff (Westlake) and Jericho Betts (Long Beach Poly) tied for second with a 68, and Hunter Newlin (Temescal Canyon) shot a 69 to share fourth with Yoshihara.
“Hide solidified himself as the best player to ever play at Woodbridge,” Woodbridge coach Tracy Roberts said. “His hard work and leadership have been exemplary.”
Westlake (366), Torrey Pines (370) and Long Beach Wilson (372) rounded out the top three in the team competition and earned a trip to state. Servite placed sixth with a 384.
“It was good season. This was a rebuilding year,” Servite coach Dane Jako said. “We played about as poorly as you could have and missed the cut by 12 shots. I am happy with the way they played.”
Yoshihara didn’t have many complaints about his performance at Brookside.
He holed five birdies to go with two bogeys, and he shaved six strokes off the score he shot in the tournament last year.
One of his two bogeys came on the 374-yard, par 4 No. 14 after he blocked his tee shot to the right and his ball landed in the dirt. He wanted to play his approach like a bunker shot, but he said he “chunked it a bit,” and his second shot stopped short of the green.
His chip shot then raced past the hole, and two putts later, he entered a bogey-five on his card, dropping him to 2 under par.
He birdied his next hole although his approach on the 528-yard par-5 came to rest in a greenside bunker.
“That birdie was key because that gives you momentum to keep going ahead,” Yoshihara said. “I played really well today. I was always positive on the course today and that helped a lot.”
Yoshihara won’t get to play a practice round at the San Gabriel Valley Country Club before he tees off in the the state tournament Wednesday. After his round, he headed to LAX to catch a flight to Phoenix for the Thunderbird International AJGA Junior at Greyhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.
“But I will be ready for sure,” Yoshihara said. “I am still playing golf, not screwing around and not practicing. It is competitive golf.”
Yoshihara’s teammate, Joseph Chun, just missed making the cut for state, carding a 1-over-par 73 after missing an 8-foot birdie putt on the par-4 18th. It took even par to move on to the state tournament.
San Clemente freshman Alexander Pak also came up a bit short, shooting a 2-over-par 74. He said if he had realized sooner that he could use a 3-metal instead of a driver on most holes, he possibly could have shaved three stokes off his score.
“The last half of my round I didn’t hit a single driver, and I played quite a bit better," he said. "I am not very happy. I had a lot of chances out there that I didn’t take advantage of. I couldn’t capitalize on the opportunities that I had on the course.”