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Woodbridge's Yoshihara finishes third in CIF-SS Championship

STAFF WRITER

DESERT HOT SPRINGS – Hide Yoshihara played in every type of weather while he traveled around the country and became one of the top-rated juniors in Golfweek’s Sagarin rankings.

After getting battered for nearly three hours by swirling gusts that reached 40 mph at Mission Lakes Country Club, the Woodbidge senior said he couldn’t recall a time when he played in more challenging conditions.

“It was as tough as it gets. It was bad,” Yoshihara said. “All I tried to do was keep the ball under the wind.”

He did a good job of doing that, holing five birdies to go with five bogeys and posted an even-par 71 to finish third in the CIF-SS Individual Championship on Thursday.

He finished two strokes behind Temescal Canyon junior Norman Xiong, who won with a 3-under-par 69.

Yohishara went 1-under-par during a challenging three-hole stretch that played into the teeth of the wind on the top of a hill. During that span, he birdied the 425-yard par-4 No. 11, the No. 1 handicap hole on the course, by draining a 40-foot putt that dropped him to even par.

“That was the turning point for me. It was when I got my confidence going,” Yoshihara said. “I am happy with how I played. I made a lot of important putts, and I hit the ball very consistently.”

Yoshihara faced similar conditions in last year’s tournament, and he said that experience made it possible for him to post a 71, a seven-stroke improvement from his performance in 2015.

Dana Hills senior Clay Feagler didn’t fare as well as he did a year ago. He posted a 2-over-par 73, which was two strokes worse than the 71 that put him at the top of the leaderboard last year.

Feagler was three under par at one time, but bogeyed his last five holes, including a 360-degree lipout on No. 6. Feagler started the tournament on the par-3 No. 8.

“You had to put yourself in the fairway to get close to these pins,” Feagler said. “I wasn’t hitting enough fairways. I was hitting it in the worst spot you could put it in, and I wasn’t able to get up and down. It was tough out there to win. But I am happy, it gets me to Brookside.”

Feagler, Yoshihara and the 26 other players who posted a 78 or better made the cut for the SCGA So Cal Championships. The tournament on Thursday at Brookside Golf Course in Pasadena helps set the field for the CIF State Championship.

It is the fourth consecutive year Feagler has made it to the So Cal Championships. But he hasn’t made the cut for state.

“I think I might go play it a couple of times,” Feagler said of Brookside. “Maybe this weekend.”

The tournament at Mission Lakes also served as an SCGA-qualifying event for teams with the top four advancing to Brookside. Servite placed fourth and will play in the state-championship qualifier for the first time since 2011.

All six Servite golfers posted a score in the 70s to help the Friars post a 378, which put them seven shots behind first-place Long Beach Wilson. Westlake (373) finished second, followed by Palm Desert (375).

“This is the happiest I have ever been,” Servite coach Dane Jako said. “It is hard to get these guys to all play well on the same day. The whole team played about as well as they could have today.”

Brendan Gonzalez posted a 73, Joey Torii added a 75, and Kyle Kinnane and Blake Hale each carded a 76 for the Friars. Dylan McCoy rounded out the Friars’ scoring with a 78.

“This feels so good. It is such a big relief to know that we are going on to the next stage,” Gonzalez said. “We all played the best that we possibly could have today.”

Contact the writer: ddottore@ocregister.com


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