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County Golfers Hope to Continue to Reign

High school: Six area teams vie for title at the Southern Section team championship.

May 19, 1997|MARTIN BECK | TIMES STAFF WRITER

In high school golf in the 1990s, Orange County has had few bogeys. Even discounting the individual success of Tiger Woods (three Southern Section titles in four years at Western High), the county has dominated like no other region.

Of the seven Southern Section team titles awarded in the decade, county teams have won five. And Estancia ended the '80s with the first of its three consecutive championships. Last year, Santa Margarita and Sunny Hills swept the top two positions.

And today at Saticoy Country Club in Ventura County, six Orange County teams will attempt to add to the legacy at the Southern Section team championship.

University, Santa Margarita, Villa Park, Servite, Sunny Hills and Huntington Beach, ranked Nos. 1-5 and No. 8 in the county sportswriters' poll, will face the largest field for a team championship in section history.

High school golf is booming, said Dean Crowley, Southern Section commissioner and its longtime director of golf. The section was able to add nine teams to the field--going from 15 to 24--for today's final with the help of an $8,000 grant from the Southern California PGA.

The deeper field is also stronger than any in memory. "Kids are playing more golf and the more you play the better you get," Crowley said. "It's been amazing.

"I tell you Tiger Woods has done so much for golf, particularly in our area."

The top five county teams are extremely deep, a crucial quality for success in an event that totals the top five of six scores for one 18-hole round.

Here are the expected lineups for the county's six teams:

University--Ron Won, Brian Sinay, Joseph Chang, Ryan Miller, Chris Kugel, Branden Fella.

Santa Margarita--Kelly Craig, Nate Blauer, Tom Osseck, Nicholas Fritz, Jimmy Pittenger, Brad Meer.

Villa Park--Geoff Cohn, Ryan Michel, Adam Hambarian, Mark Hewlett, Matt Dante, Matt Christensen.

Servite--Adam Ainbinder, Will Luciano, David Lauder, Chris Arns, Ed Garabedian, Case Barnett.

Sunny Hills--Jin Park, Dusty Schmidt, John Park, Jason Kim, Brian Sigler, Jeff Park.

Huntington Beach--Ryan Gale, Mac Tedford, Anthony Mendoza, Kevin Jackson, Kevin Kohara, Jason Katzen.

The county teams will face tough competition from several teams. Cerritos, Redlands, Palm Desert, Santa Barbara San Marcos, Westlake Village Westlake, Palos Verdes Peninsula, Lakewood and Long Beach Wilson each had impressive scores in regional qualifying.

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