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ON THE GREEN | HIGH SCHOOL BOYS' GOLF

This Title Doesn't Play Well With Servite

May 10, 2000|PETER YOON

The Servite golf team went to the Western Divisional championship Monday at L.A. Royal Vista Golf Club in Walnut with the intention of earning a berth in the Southern Section finals.

The Friars came home with more than that, but they aren't too sure they want it.

Servite won the Western Divisional, which, unbeknownst to them, was an official Southern Section title.

The section's golf committee voted this year to recognize eight team divisional champions in addition to the one overall section champion, as it had in the past. The top two teams from each of the eight divisional playoffs advance to the Southern Section finals Thursday at Saticoy Country Club in Ventura County.

The Friars, who thought they were playing only for a berth in the section finals, lugged home the plaque awarded to them and wondered what it was all about.

Coach Tim Meagher called the section office and found out that it was indeed an official section title. He called his players to tell them, but they weren't buying it.

"They were mad," Meagher said. "We were much more interested in winning the whole thing. Even after we've won this, it's not what our goal was. It's nice that we won it, but it's not what we set out to do."

Many coaches were under the impression that Thursday's tournament would merely be qualifying for the CIF-SCGA tournament, but not so, according to Southern Section Commissioner Jim Staunton.

Staunton said Thursday's winners would be recognized as overall boys' golf team champions and would be awarded plaques, championship pins and the right to purchase championship rings. The division champions and runners-up will play head to head for an overall title, making golf unique among section sports.

"Basically, with the size and scope of golf in Southern California, we felt it was necessary to recognize more than one champion," Staunton said. "We wanted to have some kind of comparable championship to that of other sports."

But Meagher isn't buying it.

"I think it's kind of tainted," he said. "The neat thing about golf was always that there was just one champion. Now you've got all these champions and you don't know who the real champion is."

Some argue that recognizing multiple champions is good for the game because it increases the number of players who receive awards.

"You've got to remember that this is about the kids," said Woodbridge Coach Tracy Roberts. "Anything that gets the kids more recognition is a good deal."

Still, many feel it's important to recognize one overall champion because the Southern Section finals is the deepest tournament in the state.

The top four teams Thursday will advance to the season-ending CIF-SCGA finals June 6 and play against teams from the Central, San Diego and City sections. Southern Section teams have won more CIF-SCGA titles (16) than the other three sections combined (13). Central and City section teams have won only six combined.

"At the Southern Section tournament, you get rid of a lot of good teams," Santa Margarita Coach Tim O'Hara said. "It's too big a tournament to qualify four teams and then just say, 'Thanks for coming.' "

EXIT POLLS

Who says polls don't mean anything?

Servite, Santa Margarita, Huntington Beach, Newport Harbor and Woodbridge were ranked Nos. 1-5, respectively, in the final Orange County sportswriters' golf poll.

These are the five county teams that advanced to the Southern Section finals.

Servite won the West Divisional by six shots over Santa Margarita. Newport Harbor won the South Coast Divisional by six shots over Woodbridge. Huntington Beach finished second in the Southern Divisional, five shots behind Long Beach Wilson.

LOOKING AHEAD

Tee times for the Southern Section finals are set for Thursday at Saticoy Country Club.

Players from Servite and Newport Harbor will tee off between 11:08 a.m. and 12:38 p.m. Santa Margarita, Woodbridge and Huntington Beach players will tee off between 12:46 and 2:14. All players will start on the first tee. Admission is free.

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If you have an item or idea for the Boys' Golf report, you can fax us at (714) 966-5663 or e-mail us at peter.yoon@latimes.com

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