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Servite cruises past rival Mater Dei
CHINO HILLS – Cold wind and rain are not the ideal playing conditions for a boys golf match, but Servite managed to weather the storm that moved into Southern California on Wednesday afternoon, posting their seventh consecutive score in the 180s.
And this time it led the No. 2 Friars to a victory over Trinity League rival Mater Dei at Western Hills Country Club. For the fifth time this season, Servite shot a 185, which put them 13 strokes clear of the No. 5 Monarchs, who finished with a 198, the second highest score they have carded this year.
Even though their stroke average of 185.5 puts them among the elite teams in the county, Servite senior Preston Valder said they still have a ways to go to reach the form that led the Friars to state championship tournament last season.
“We are not playing that well right now at all. We will have one or two us play well, and the rest won’t play that well,” Valder said. “If we play well, we will shoot in the mid 170s. But different people hit their strides at different times.”
And the time appears to be now for Valder. He led the Friars with a 1-under 34 after birdying both of the par 3’s on the front nine. He came within 2 feet of holing an ace on the 159-yard No. 8.
This was the fourth time this season that the UCLA-bound Valder has been the medalist for the Friars at Western Hills. In the three previous rounds, he won the honor with an even-par 35.
After Valder got up and down out of the greenside bunker to remain even through his first four holes, he landed his approach on the 363-yard par-4 No. 5, 4 feet above the pin.
His downhill putt, however, rolled 5 feet past the hole, and he had to settle for a three-putt bogey.
On the next hole, he rolled in a 25-footer that had 4 inches of break on the 165-yard No. 6 to get back to even.
“I was pretty frustrated from five, and I told myself that I had to really bear down and make it,” Valder said. “But this is our home course. We play it every day, so there is no excuse for us not to go out and put up a good number.”
Brain Campbell, who was 6-under par in his last four matches for the Monarchs, struggled right from the first tee, and dropped to 3-over par when his tee shot on the par-4 No. 3 traveled about 100 yards after hitting a tree. He finished with a 5-over 40.
The Monarchs are scheduled to play host to the Friars on Thursday at Santa Ana Country Club. It’s a tricky course, among the hardest used in high school golf, and the Monarchs’ opponents are averaging 198 strokes there.
The last time the Friars played at Santa Ana Country Club, though, they finished 6-under as a team, and everyone that figured into that final score will play again on Thursday.