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Im Wins the Title at Finals With a 66

June 04, 2003|Peter Yoon | Times Staff Writer

Daniel Im nearly withdrew from the California Interscholastic Federation-Southern California Golf Assn. boys' golf finals, then he nearly set the tournament record.

A junior from La Mirada, Im shot six-under-par 66 Tuesday at the SCGA Golf Course in Murrieta and won the individual title by three shots over Kevin Chappel of Clovis Buchanan. It was one stroke off the tournament record set by Steve Conway of Santa Margarita in 2000.

Im played a 36-hole U.S. Open qualifier Monday in Tarzana and didn't think he could manage the season-ending tournament that pits the top teams and individuals from the Southern, City, San Diego and Central sections.

"Coach called me out," said Im, who tried to back out of the CIF-SCGA event Monday night.

Im, who was ranked as high as No. 6 in the nation, shot 75-77 in the U.S. Open qualifying event and missed the cut. He got a tip from swing coach Bobby Lasken about staying relaxed and put it into action Tuesday.

He made six birdies without a bogey, hit 17 of 18 greens in regulation and did not three putt. He made the turn at three under. Another birdie at No. 11 put him at four under and he started getting nervous.

On No. 14, he hit his approach to within five feet for a relatively easy birdie putt. "I almost missed it," he said. "But it went in and I could relax again. I didn't think about it after that."

A birdie at No. 15 got Im to six under. On 16 he made a 12-foot putt to save par, then missed a six-foot birdie attempt on No. 17 for a share of the record.

"That's OK," said Im, who added his name to a list of champions that includes Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, John Cook and Craig Stadler. "This is a big tournament to win."

Sophomore Blake Trimble shot 70 and senior Ryan King shot 71 to lead Torrey Pines, which won the team title by four strokes over Cerritos and La Costa Canyon. Torrey Pines ended a seven-year run of titles by Southern Section schools.

It is the sixth CIF-SCGA team title for Torrey Pines, the most of any school, and its first since 1995. The victory caps a 25-0 season in which the team steadily improved. The team's last three rounds were its best: a 364 in the first round of the San Diego Section championships, a nine-under 351 in the second round and the 366 Tuesday.

San Marcos, the Southern Section champion, played without top player Kevin Larsen, The Times' 2002 player of the year. Larsen, a senior heading to Georgia Tech, also played a 36-hole U.S. Open qualifier Monday and will play the prestigious Sunnehanna Amateur championship in Pennsylvania later this week. San Marcos shot 374 and finished fourth.

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