YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Gahr's Sapp Shoots 66 for Title

May 28, 2003|Peter Yoon | Times Staff Writer

Garrett Sapp has been playing golf for only five years, but that's long enough for him to know what it would take to win the Southern Section boys' golf individual championship.

"Go low," Sapp said.

And that's exactly what he did Tuesday. A junior from Cerritos Gahr, Sapp shot a six-under-par 66 at Canyon Country Club in Palm Springs and won the title by a shot over Joe Lopez of Chino Hills Ayala. It was the second-lowest score in tournament history, one stroke off the record 65 shot by Brian Sinay of Irvine University in 1999.

It is the biggest victory for Sapp, who began playing at the behest of his uncle -- a golf course manager in Palm Springs. He is the first Gahr golfer to win the individual title.

"I wasn't really expecting to win," Sapp said. "I was just trying to make the cut, but I got off to such a good start I started thinking about not making any bogeys and going low."

There were six scores in the 60s and 18 players broke par on a pristine day that left the course ripe for scoring. The top 22 advance to the CIF-SCGA Finals next Tuesday at the SCGA Golf Course in Murrieta and it took a round of even par to qualify, the lowest cut in section history.

Sapp started on No. 12 and made a par. He then reeled off three consecutive birdies to jump-start his round. He got up and down from a bunker on his seventh hole, the par-five 18th, for a birdie, then made putts of eight and 10 feet on his ninth and 10th holes to go six under.

"I started thinking about it then," Sapp said. "I started thinking about seven under because I've never shot that before."

A par on the last would have given him a share of the tournament record, but his tee shot sailed into the trees on the right. He hit a low punch shot from there, but it went through the back of the green. Sapp failed to get up and down and made his lone bogey.

Gahr teammate Kenny Kim defeated Brandon Christianson of Valencia in a two-hole playoff for third place. Each shot 68.

Sapp and Kim have been instrumental in turning around the program at Gahr. In the three years before their arrival, Gahr won six matches. In the three years since they arrived, the team is 42-5 and has won the last two Central Divisional titles.

For Lopez, a senior, the short game that carried him through most of the round failed him in the end. He chipped in for eagle on his third hole to get momentum but missed birdie putts of three and five feet on his 16th and 17th holes.

"I put the number 65 in my head before I started," Lopez said. "If I made those putts I would have hit it and I would have won. I just made a couple of bad strokes. But it still feels good to finish this high in this kind of field."

Los Angeles Times Articles