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Wagner Finally Finds His Way Back

Golfer of the year: After two down seasons, Santa Margarita senior is in the swing once again.


RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA& — The Steve Wagner postseason drought has finally been broken.

After leading Santa Margarita to a CIF-Southern California Golf Assn. title as a freshman by shooting an Orange County-low 73, Wagner wasn't heard from much. He failed to qualify for the Southern Section individual championships in his sophomore and junior seasons.

Wagner was disappointed at the time, but his pain was soothed because he knew he was working toward long-term gains. He was struggling mainly because he was working with a teaching professional to completely overhaul his swing.

"This season, I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel," Wagner said.

It was shining brightly during a dual match with Del Mar Torrey Pines at Rancho Santa Fe when he shot a school-record six-under-par 66. He had seven birdies and one bogey.

Wagner, who will attend UCLA, won the Sea View League title by nine strokes and was medalist with 72 at Coto de Caza to lead the Eagles to a 24-stroke victory at the Southern Section Southern Regional. The next week, he shot 73 at Canyon Country Club in Palm Springs to help the Eagles to their first Southern Section team title.

Wagner then shot 76 at Sandpiper in Goleta at the section individual tournament and closed out his high school career with a 76 at the SCGA Members' Club at Rancho California, helping the Eagles to second in the CIF-SCGA tournament.

"The thing about Steve that was most impressive was just his whole attitude," Santa Margarita Coach Tim O'Hara said. "As good as he was playing he always kept the team No. 1."

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