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Moon Rises to Occasion and Qualifies With 69

Golf: Royal ace gets up at 2:30 a.m. for 150-mile drive to Palm Springs, earns spot in SCGA tournament.

May 21, 1999|VINCE KOWALICK | TIMES STAFF WRITER

PALM SPRINGS — A golfer has to get up pretty early in the morning to outdo Tiger Woods.

Roy Moon managed to accomplish one but not the other Thursday at the Southern Section golf championships at Canyon Country Club.

Brian Sinay of University High in Irvine pulled off the latter, shooting a seven-under-par 65 to eclipse the record of 66 set by Woods, then a senior at Anaheim Western, in the 1994 section final at La Cumbre Country Club in Santa Barbara.

For his part, Moon, a junior for Royal, shot a 69 at Canyon to lead seven golfers from the region into the Southern California Golf Assn. championships on June 8 at the SCGA Members' Club in Murrieta.

While most of his opponents traveled to Palm Springs on Wednesday night, Moon awoke at home Thursday at 2:30 a.m. and drove more than 150 miles to make a 7:30 tee time.

After a five-hour round that included seven birdies and eight pars, the Marmonte League champion appeared far from exhausted.

In fact, you might say Moon beamed.

"I was tired, but not anymore," Moon said, grinning. "Not after shooting 69."

Moon's score equaled a career best and was nine strokes lower than his total Monday at the Northern Regional at La Cumbre.

Moon shot a two-under-par 69 this season in a league match at Elkins Ranch Golf Course in Fillmore.

Moon played consistently at Canyon, making three consecutive birdies on the front nine. He also capitalized on good fortune.

"I hit a couple in the rough, but I got some good breaks," Moon said. "I hit a tree trunk and it bounced back in the fairway. Except for one hole, I hit the ball really well. I hit a lot of fairways, a lot of greens and my putter started working. This course just seemed to fit my game."

Moon came within a stroke of tying Woods' best at Canyon, where Woods shot 68 in the 1991 and '93 section finals.

Westlake's J.T. Kohut, Ian Medlock and Brian O'Flaherty qualified for the SCGA match based on the Warriors' second-place finish last week in the section team final at La Purisima Golf Course in Lompoc.

Kohut shot 73 and Medlock had a 71--good enough to qualify regardless.

"There was no pressure out here today," Medlock said. "It was just another game. This one was a freebie."

O'Flaherty, a sophomore, shot 74 and was among 11 golfers involved in a one-hole playoff to fill the final five of 27 qualifying berths. O'Flaherty was not among five golfers who settled the tie by making birdie on the first hole.

Shawn Andrews of Nordhoff, Tri-Valley League champion, was among the five, sinking a three-foot birdie putt.

"The round was a little dirty for me at times," said Andrews, who had four bogeys. "All day it was kind of a scramble. I was surprisingly relaxed coming into the playoff, but my knees started knocking before I made that putt."

Medlock was three strokes under par after 13 holes and finished with four birdies. Medlock sank putts of at least 15 feet on the first and 17th holes.

"I putted for eagle a couple of times," Medlock said. "I made a lot of short putts that I needed to make. I've been hitting the ball well lately. As an individual, I'm just trying to play solid. I'm more interested in the team."

Kohut, who has signed with UCLA, Medlock and O'Flaherty will give Westlake a good chance of winning a team title at Murrieta, Coach Dave Costley said.

"Those are three good scores," Costley said. "If they shoot that way, we'll be in good shape. I'm looking forward to it."

Zack King of Ventura shot 71 and Jeff Osborn of Flintridge Prep was at 73, both qualifying.

Nonqualifiers included Brian Edick of Hart at 75, Chris Gray of Rio Mesa at 78, James Logeman of Oak Park at 82 and Justin Ohye of Calabasas at 83.

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