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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Park Makes Stroke of Brilliance

Golf: His 22-foot putt wins individual title, helps Crescenta Valley take team title at DeBell tournament.

April 21, 2000|MITCH POLIN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

BURBANK — The timing couldn't have been better.

On his final stroke of the day, sophomore Michael Park of Crescenta Valley High came through with a shot to remember.

Park sank a 22-foot putt for a birdie on the ninth hole, his 18th, to finish with a one-over par 72 at the 38th annual De Bell Invitational golf tournament Thursday at De Bell Golf Course.

That gave Park the individual title by one stroke over Andrew Garcia of La Puente Bishop Amat.

Crescenta Valley and Flintridge Prep tied at 314 strokes in the team competition, but the Falcons were declared champions when tournament officials matched scorecards to break the tie.

Coach John Pehar of Crescenta Valley didn't care what method officials used to determine the champion.

He was excited with a victory of any kind, considering the Falcons are not regarded as a Southern Section power.

But Pehar, in his third season as coach, said that might be about to change. The Falcons, who have only one senior among their top seven players, play Arcadia in a match that could decide the Pacific League title Monday at Santa Anita Golf Course in Arcadia.

"This is the best team Crescenta Valley has had in 15 years," Pehar said. "It's probably been 15 years since we won a tournament title like this."

The Falcons haven't had many players as skilled as Park.

"Michael's the kind of player who has room to grow," Pehar said. "He's got the right frame of mind. You've to be a little cocky but he's what I'd call quiet cocky."

Park fired a steady round, finishing at one-over-par 36 on the front nine and even-par 36 on the back.

He had three birdies and four bogeys.

"My putting kind of broke down for a few holes but I got it back at the end," he said.

If there was a hard-luck team in the tournament, it had to be Flintridge Prep.

Not only did the Rebels lose a tiebreaker to decide the title but Jeff Osborn finished third behind Garcia in the individual standings because of a similar tiebreaker. They each finished with a 73.

"I lost a card-off and our team lost a card-off," Osborn said. "It's kind of annoying but we still did pretty well."

It was very good as far as Coach Bob Loughrie was concerned.

Loughrie was encouraged because Flintridge Prep doesn't have a senior among its top four players.

"We have young kids and they're not tournament hardened," he said.

"But we had four kids who feasted with the challenge."

Brendan Kelley of Flintridge Prep finished one stroke behind Osborn with a 74.

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