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BILL ALKOFER, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Beckman High School's Cameron Lee hopes to lead her school to a conference championship this season.

Golf preview: Beckman shows no sign of letting up

STAFF WRITER

TUSTIN - Beckman girls golf coach Cheyne Blair is worried.

The season has just begun and already he can see that the Patriots are barreling toward a case of burnout.

After school, he said, the girls practically live on the driving range at Tustin Ranch Golf Club. They’re not there because of any orders from him. The Patriots want to put in long hours working on their game.

It has reached a point where Blair has ordered the girls to go home and relax.

“There is no question that the work ethic is there for these girls,” said Blair, who has taken over this season for longtime coach Penn Bushong, who has been promoted to assistant principal at the school. “I am on the opposite end of the spectrum, wondering if they are going to be able to sustain it for a season, but they show no signs of slowing down.

“It is kind of nice that you don’t have to say, ‘hey, remember you need to get your practice in.’”

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Working toward improving a little bit each day, whether it’s on the range or in a Pacific Coast League match, Nadia Susanto said, is the only goal the Patriots have this season. That approach worked last year when Susanto, Cameron Lee, Priscilla Ki and Hannah Lee helped the Patriots win the CIF-SS Southern Regional by 10 strokes.

All four players return this year, making Beckman the No. 1 team in the county to start the season. The Patriots are also a contender to claim another Southern Section title.

“We push each other, which makes us better,” Susanto said. “We didn’t expect anything (last season). We worked really hard to get where we were and it was a great feeling (to win the championship).”

After just few practice rounds, Blair said, he could tell that “there have been improvements across the board” in his lineup. Even freshman Sophie Nguyen is breaking 80, as she posted a 78 in team qualifier.

“I worked really hard to get on the team that was my big goal,” Nguyen said, “and I am really proud, and I hope we do well this season.”

It’s going to take low rounds like her 79 for her to crack the Patriots’ talented and deep lineup this season.

The five scores in a varsity-team qualifier that Blair held at Tustin Ranch added up to 189, and the difference between the fifth and the sixth score, which he dropped, was only three strokes. They followed that up with a 188 in a 40-stroke season-opening victory against Pacific Coast League rival Northwood last week.

When a girls golf team breaks 190 for a nine-hole match, that puts them among the Southern Section’s elite.

Priscilla Ki shot 3-under 33 in the victory against Northwood at Oak Creek Golf Club, another low score in what has turned out to be quite a successful summer for her. In August she won the Golf Pride Yorba Linda Championship and the Harry Pressler Memorial Championship, both SCPGA’s Players Tour Summer Series.

“These girls have been out there on a regular basis on their own and they four of the girls have played in multiple tournaments this summer,” Blair said.

Lee recently tied for second in the Target Junior Championship, one stroke behind the leader, at Rush Creek Golf Club in Maple Grove, Minn. She posted rounds of 76, 74 and 77 and earned the highest finish of her AJGA career.

“I was really happy. I had worked really hard for it,” Lee said. “I said, ‘Ok, I will try to do my best in the tournament,’ and it all worked out pretty well. ...We have all been working hard and we have improved over the summer.”

Contact the writer: ddottore@ocregister.com


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