HOPE RANCH, Calif. — Word of the great things being done by Jason Bittick and Bob May spread quickly around La Cumbre Country Club Monday. Things such as birdies, 300-yard drives, and a shot to the pin from the water. These were fine junior golfers at work.
Bittick of Esperanza and May of Los Altos were impressing the small galleries, but the Westlake High team played a consistent round and won the CIF Southern Section team title with a 36-over-par 386.
The score is deceiving. Bittick, a senior, was the only player able to fashion a sub-par round. Bittick shot a two-under 68, but the tight fairways and right-to-left draw of La Cumbre proved troublesome for most players, including defending SCGA-Southern California champion O.D. Vincent of Palm Springs, who shot 85.
Westlake, the top qualifier in the North team regional, got low rounds from its second, third and fourth players. Sophomore Chris Zambri, Westlake's No. 3 player, shot a 74. No. 2 Jimmy Chang put together a 76, and No. 4 Brodie Munro a 77. USC-bound James Kim, Westlake's top player, shot 78 while grouped with May.
"The guys that really make it happen are the No. four, five and six guys," said Westlake Coach Lorin Maygren. "They're the guys that win it for you."
May, a junior who qualified for the Los Angeles Open at age 15, is the Southern Section individual champion and will try to qualify for the U.S. Open today at Industry Hills. His 72 was enough to help Los Altos (397) into the SCGA-Southern California championships June 9 at Lakeside along with Westlake, Esperanza (395), and Long Beach Wilson (398).
May is confident yet carefree on the golf course, and maybe that's why he was able to pull a ball out of an inch of water and to within 10 feet of the pin on 13. Wearing his club towel as an apron, May brought the ball up and down over a high embankment, but missed the 10-footer for par. "I could putt better with dark glasses and a cane. I swear," he said.
Bittick was merely one under after eight holes before missing an eagle putt on nine by inches. Had his ball not popped back out of the cup at 18, forcing a three-putt bogey, Bittick would have finished with 66.
"A fabulous round," Esperanza Coach Al Safallo said. "He saved us today."
Palm Springs, which shot a 378 while wining the 1985 team title by 12 strokes at its home course, finished ninth with 410.