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Santa Margarita Coach Hopes Team Hears Ring of Success

September 19, 2000|PETER YOON

The ring ceremony for the Santa Margarita boys' golf team at halftime of the Santa Margarita-Los Alamitos football game Friday night at Cal State Fullerton had a double meaning for Eagle golf.

First, it was to honor the team that won its third CIF-SCGA championship last spring. Graduated seniors Steve Conway, now at UCLA, Mike Farrell, at Loyola Marymount, and Chris Gallagher, also at Loyola Marymount, returned for the ceremony.

But several players from the girls' team were in attendance, and Coach Tim O'Hara was hoping the ceremony would light a fire under them.

"I'm hoping the success will rub off on [the girls]," O'Hara said.

For the past two years, O'Hara has been battling to motivate his girls' program to compete at a level comparable with the boys. The Eagle boys' teams have seven league championships, seven regional championships and two Southern Section championships to go along with the three CIF-SCGA titles.

At first, O'Hara thought the girls didn't take it seriously enough, but was pleased to learn that top players Megan Mulhaupt, Brenda Progar and Alexis Etow played an extensive summer schedule.

"I think they're finally starting to get it," he said.


Villa Park Coach Gordon Sutorius was surprised to find three newspaper photographers at the Spartans' match against Dana Hills last week. He was even more surprised to learn that none of the photographers was assigned to take pictures of his second-ranked team.

"I think they were looking for the upset," Sutorius said. "We're expected to be good, so they all wanted to see Dana Hills beat us."

Villa Park won, 130-137, to complete a two-day sweep.

The day before, the teams tied, 127-127, after Villa Park's No. 3 player, Beth Gates, holed out a 60-yard shot for par on the par-5 ninth hole at Tustin Ranch. Gates, a junior, hit her third shot into the water near the ninth green. Hitting a sand wedge from a drop area, Gates' shot went in the hole and tied the match.

"That was really awesome," Sutorius said. "The parents and the coaches were all sitting around the green and everyone was cheering."

Sutorius said he didn't know the shot tied the match until after it went in and he began adding up the scores. He figured the score was close because No. 1 player Priscilla Park had come in with a six-over-par 42, which included an 11 on one hole.

"It was kind of dramatic," Sutorius said. "We had no idea how big that shot was, we just thought it was exciting that it went in."

Megan Schindelbeck shot 50 for the Spartans, good enough to give Villa Park the victory based on the fourth-player tiebreaker.


Look for a possible matchup between No. 1 University and No. 2 Villa Park before the playoffs.

The teams, which met twice in the regular season last year, are not scheduled to play this year because the coaches kept missing each other when putting together schedules.

But neither team filled its schedule to the maximum 18 matches allowed by the Southern Section and Sutorius is interested in playing the Trojans.

"I'll see what I can do," Sutorius said. "I think we should be playing them."


Stella Lee of Irvine is making an early case for Orange County player of the year.

The Irvine High senior is a combined three under par for the season and has made eight birdies in three matches for the fourth-ranked Vaqueros, who shot a school-record 119 at Oak Creek last week.


Newport Harbor Coach Jim Warren is about to find out just what kind of team he has.

Warren is normally optimistic about his team, but had doubts about this year's squad entering the season because senior Emily McKay did not return and junior Kelly Hunt, the top player from a year ago, played a limited summer schedule.

The Sailors play five consecutive days this week and five consecutive days next week, including two tournaments.

"We've got to get the work in," Warren said. "They didn't really play this summer, so we have to get them back to where they were last year."

The Sailors were 17-0 last year.


The match of the week takes place Thursday when No. 2 Villa Park takes on No. 5 Irvine at Oak Creek in the first nine holes of an 18-hole match.

The teams were supposed to start the match today at Green River, but Sutorius, the Spartan coach, rescheduled the Villa Park home nine for Sept. 25. . . . Newport Harbor and San Clemente travel to Palm Desert Country Club Friday for a four-way match with Palm Desert and San Jose Notre Dame. The match was original scheduled for Big Canyon Country Club, but that course is in the preparation stages for the U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur championship Oct. 9-13. . . . Santa Margarita is the defending champion of the Santa Barbara San Marcos tournament Saturday at La Purisima in Lompoc. The format is a two-player scramble. Villa Park and Woodbridge are also entered.

If you have an item or idea for the girls' golf report, you can fax us at (714) 966-5663 or e-mail us at

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