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Sylmar's Montes Is First and Foremost

City golf: He shoots 74 to go with opening-round 67 and becomes only Spartan to win title.


In a way, the two-over-par 74 Jay Montes shot Wednesday to clinch the City Section individual boys' golf championship was even more impressive than his five-under 67 on Tuesday.

Not just because he was playing a more difficult course, but also because he started his round as the hunted instead of the hunter.

Yet the Sylmar High senior proved he could perform just as well with everyone watching as he does in virtual anonymity, becoming the first golfer in school history to win the City individual title.

Of course, it didn't hurt that he had a five-stroke lead before stepping up to the first tee at Griffith Park's Wilson Course.

"I really wanted to shoot par, but I'll take a two-over on this course," Montes said. "Basically I just used the same strategy as [Tuesday], tried to hit the fairways and greens.

"There was no reason to press and go for too much. I had the lead. Everyone else was chasing me."

Though he didn't show it, Montes admitted he was nervous, especially on the back nine when it became more and more clear on each passing hole that no one would catch him.

"I was struggling the last couple of holes because I started thinking about it," said Montes, who didn't start playing golf until the summer before his freshman year. "My school and where I live isn't known for its golf so I thought, 'Let me post something for Sylmar.' "

As he had on the shorter Harding course the first day, Montes played conservatively to protect his lead. It proved to be the right strategy in cold and cloudy conditions.

He was two-over par through nine holes, but was even par on the back nine.

Montes' two-day total of 141 was enough to hold off defending champion Ed Turner of Palisades, who finished second at 74-70--144.

Gavin Witzer of Westchester (77-73), Leif Hansen of Eagle Rock (73-77) and Doo Kang of San Pedro (72-78) tied for third at 150.

Turner was an overwhelming favorite, having tied the City record of 65 at Wilson last year to capture the championship as a freshman. He began the second round seven strokes off the lead and shot a 70, the lowest score of the day.

"I played better than I did the first day, but the way [Montes] played, I almost had to shoot 65 again to win," Turner said.

Palisades won its second consecutive team title with a 794 total. Chatsworth, which led Palisades by a stroke after the first round, finished second with 805 and Hamilton was third at 816.

Granada Hills and San Pedro tied for fourth at 819, followed by Grant at 826, Birmingham with 839 and El Camino at 862.

The top two teams and the top 10 individuals advanced to the CIF-Southern California Golf Assn. championships at the SCGA Members' Club on June 6 in Murietta.

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