While the top players rest, Northwood still edges Crean Lutheran at Oak Creek

IRVINE – Northwood boys golf coach Tim O’Brien likes to take a hands-off approach when the Timberwolves tee off. He just sits back and watches them play.

“They are the kinds of kids that had a golf club in one hand and a baby bottle in another,” O’Brien said. “It’s the upbringing they have had. They can golf.”

On a day when he gave three of his top players the day off, the Timberwolves still managed to edge Crean Lutheran, 193-200, on the back nine at Oak Creek Golf Club on Wednesday.

Freshman David Huang shaved a stroke and a half off his nine-hole average and posted an even-par 36 to lead the Timberwolves while freshman Brooks Li and Spencer Wing added a 37 and 38 respectively.

Jin Han Park earned medalist honors after carding a 1-under-par 35 for the Saints.

“Last year, we had superstars,” O’Brien said. “This year, we have six or seven guys that can shoot around par, and that is rare on high school.”

After Wednesday’s result, the Timberwolves are averaging 189 for nine holes matches. Last week, Northwood finished 4-under-par as a team with a 171 at Laguna Woods. Derek Kim posted a 5-under par 30 for Northwood. He was one of the three players that skipped the Crean Lutheran match. Four-time medalist Chris Young and Kevin Chen were also not in the lineup.

Nonleague matches like this one against the Saints, O’Brien said give him a chance to tinker with his roster and give kids, who are normally at the bottom of the lineup a more prominent role.

“That is why we do those matches because it gets down to what you do in league. The top three teams go to CIF,” O’Brien said. “You have to have a good team. In the past we have had a couple really good players, but we couldn’t finish up three, four and five. This year we should be legit. The scores are showing it.”

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