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San Marcos Wins Third Title in Row

May 16, 2003|Peter Yoon | Times Staff Writer

Santa Barbara San Marcos didn't swagger into the Southern Section boys' golf championships as it had each of the last two seasons because the Royals didn't have an unblemished record.

Despite its apparent vulnerability, , San Marcos won its third consecutive section title.

The Royals shot 11-over-par 371 as a team Thursday at The PGA of Southern California Golf Club in Calimesa and finished two shots ahead of favored Riverside Poly. Cerritos shot 375 and finished third, and Diamond Bar was fourth with 378. The top four advance to the CIF-SCGA finals June 3 at the SCGA Golf Course in Murrieta.

Collin Lee made five birdies in his last seven holes and shot par 72 at the club's Champions Course to lead San Marcos, which has won five of the last seven section titles.

Kevin Larsen shot 73 and Jake Clemens had a 74 for the Royals, who didn't have a player shoot higher than 79.

"We knew Poly has some good sticks and we knew we'd have to play well," said Larsen, The Times' 2002 boys' golfer of the year. "And we did that. We played real solid."

Spectacular usually describes San Marcos' play. Two years ago on the same course, San Marcos shot a section tournament record 359.

It was only one of several under-par rounds the Royals shot during a span that had many anointing San Marcos as one of the best high school teams of all time.

That reputation became tarnished in a Channel League loss to Santa Barbara this season. The loss ended a 71-match league winning streak and sent a message that San Marcos could be beaten.

That made Thursday's victory sweeter than the previous two, San Marcos Coach Aaron Solis said.

"Yeah, when you put it that way it does," he said. "We knew it wasn't going to be easy and it wasn't going to be handed to us."

The loss to Santa Barbara sparked San Marcos in an unusual way, Solis said.

"We had gotten so used to winning, we forgot how to win," he said. "We saw Santa Barbara high-fiving and enjoying something we had taken for granted. This win we are going to savor and enjoy."

Lee will especially enjoy it. He began his round with consecutive bogeys and was four-over par through 10 holes before he got hot with his putter.

He made birdie putts of 35, 20 and 15 feet in his last five holes.

He also made a 40-foot eagle putt after driving the green on the 330-yard, par-4 third hole, his ninth.

"I knew I was putting well and if I stayed with it I could come back," Lee said. "I had faith that my teammates were going to play well and I knew it was going to be close so I didn't want to let the team down."

Poly, ranked No. 1 by The Times most of the season, got a 68 from Phil Telliard and a 70 from Josh Wooding, but nobody else broke 77 and the Bears had to count an 80 in their team score.

"It's a little disappointing," Poly Coach Mike Sage said. "You don't set your goals any less than finishing first. A couple of our guys didn't make good choices out there and that's something we're going to address."

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