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LEONARD ORTIZ, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Hide Yoshihara of Woodbridge is the Orange County Register's Player of the year for the All-County boys golf team.

Boys golfer of the year: Hide Yoshihara, Woodbridge

STAFF WRITER

One year later the result still stung, and it became the sole focus for everything Woodbridge’s Hide Yoshihara did this season.

When his varsity career began four years ago, his goal was to play in the CIF State Championship. With a 3-over-par 75 in the 2015 SCGA So Cal Championships, he had again missed the cut for the prestigious high school tournament.

This spring was his last chance to realize his dream.

“Not making it, he dedicated himself this year to get ready for it,” Woodbridge coach Tracy Roberts said. “He was determined to win it, and he solidified himself in not only Woodbridge history but state history as well.”

Yoshihara finally got to the state tournament this season, becoming the first boys golfer in school history to qualify for the tournament.

He made quite a first impression.

On Wednesday, he birdied his final four holes to shoot a 6-under-par 65 and win the CIF State Championship by a stroke at at San Gabriel Valley Country Club.

He has been selected by the Register as the Orange County boys golfer of the year.

“Once I made it here, I wanted to win it, and I knew that if I prepared enough, I could do it,” Yoshihara said after winning the state title. “This season couldn’t have been better. I couldn’t have asked for more.”

In seven postseason rounds, Yoshihara never posted a score worse than par, and he finished his championship run with a cumulative score of 15-under par.

He posted rounds in the 60s in the season’s two biggest tournaments, shooting a 3-under-par 69 at Brookside Golf Club to tie for fourth in the SCGA So Cal Championships, which qualified him for state. His score of 65 was the lowest score posted in a CIF State Championship since Rickie Fowler won the title with a 64 at Santa Maria Country Club in 2006.

Yoshihara also helped the Warriors win the CIF-SS South Coast Team Regional, posting a 2-under par 70 at Talega Golf Club

In four individual posteason tournaments, Yoshihara never finished worse than fourth.

“I had a lot of support from my coach, my parents and my friends, and without them I couldn’t have done this,” Yoshihara said. “But my swing has been very consistent. I was a little bit off the two times I was at Skylinks.”

Even though Yoshihara felt he wasn’t at his best at Skylinks Golf Course, he tied for first in the Pacific Coast League championship with a 2-under-par 142 and finished second in the CIF Individual Championship with a 2-under-par 70.

“Yeah, I was shooting under par, but I wasn’t quite feeling as well as I wanted to,” he said. “Coming into these tournaments, I was very comfortable. That is the one reason why I played so much better this year.”

During his time at Woodbridge, Yoshihara evolved into one of the best junior players in the nation.

He finished fifth in the Thunderbird International Junior, posting a 6-under-par 210 in the AJGA tournament at Greyhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz. He is 33rd in the Golfweek national Sagarian rankings. In the fall, Yoshihara will begin playing for UCLA.

UCLA coach Derek Freeman and his assistant, Andrew Larkin, watched Yoshihara win the state championship at San Gabriel Country Club.

“I am really excited to be at UCLA next year. I want to succeed and play well there,” Yoshihara said. “And this will give a lot of confidence going in.”

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ALL-COUNTY BOYS GOLF

Contact the writer: ddottore@ocregister.com


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