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High Schools | BOYS' GOLFER OF THE YEAR

Sapp Has Right Approach

June 13, 2004|Rafer Weigel | Times Staff Writer

Given what Garrett Sapp has accomplished this spring and where he's headed next week, it seems natural that being selected The Times' golfer of the year wouldn't warrant much of a reaction.

"Cool," the senior from Cerritos Gahr said in a barely audible tone when told of the award.

"Awesome," he mumbled.

Sapp, who will play at UC Irvine next season, has the perfect laid-back disposition for the golf course.

"He's just so relaxed all the time, whether he hit an eagle or a bogey, he always moved on to the next hole and didn't look back," Coach Steve Orr said.

"You could never tell if he was four over or four under."

In a season where school records seemed to be broken every week, Sapp held one distinction above the rest -- he remained consistent. Throughout the year, Sapp delivered when his team needed him most, anchoring Gahr to its first Southern Section team championship.

Sapp medaled 13 times in 21 outings during the regular season and never shot above par in any postseason 18-hole tournament, medaling in seven of nine events. The Gladiators finished a section-best fourth at the state tournament.

"When I started playing golf, I used to get [emotional]," Sapp said. "But I learned quick if you do, it only makes everything worse."

Things only got better for Sapp and his team as the season progressed. After winning the San Gabriel Valley League title for the third consecutive season, Sapp posted a team-low, three-under-par 69 in the Central Divisional on May 10 at the SCPGA Legends Course in Beaumont to lead the Gladiators to a 369 total and their second consecutive divisional title.

In the section finals May 13, Sapp sank an 18-foot eagle putt on his final hole to take a one-stroke individual victory with a five-under 66 and lead the Gladiators to a 363 score at La Cumbre Country Club in Santa Barbara.

In the CIF-SCGA championships June 3 at the SCGA Golf Club in Murrieta, Sapp again was the low man for Gahr with a two-under 70 to put the Gladiators in second with a 367 and earn a berth in the state tournament at Santa Maria Country Club on June 8. At state, Sapp led his team with an even-par 72 in wind gusts up to 30 mph but his teammates struggled and the Gladiators finished fourth at 377.

"Coach really pushed the whole team concept on us this year, and I think that really helped us all," Sapp said. "When you realize you're playing for the whole team and not just yourself, it kind of elevates your game."

Sapp's elevated game also earned him a berth on the most prestigious team of all. Six weeks ago, Sapp was one of four seniors chosen by the College Coaches Assn. to represent the U.S. in the Junior World Golf Championships in Osaka, Japan, on Thursday. Sapp will be joined by Kevin Chappel from Fresno, Will Osbourne from Texas and Patton Kizzire from Alabama, and will compete for a world-title against 14 other four-man teams from Europe, Asia and South America.

"I know it's pretty big representing the whole country," Sapp said.

"It's just four guys representing all of the U.S. I just hope I can play good and show the world what we're made of. It should be pretty sweet."

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*--* THE TIMES' ALL-STAR BOYS' GOLF TEAM FIRST TEAM Rickie Fowler Murrieta Valley Fr. Shot a tournament-record 10-under-par 62 at CIF-SCGA championships and a five-under 67 at Central Regional. Sihwan Kim La Mirada Fr. Shot a two-under 70 at CIF-SCGA to qualify for state, where he shot a 73. Jeff Koprivetz Esperanza Jr. Shot a 69 in Southern Section finals to finish tied for third and shot a 70 at CIF-SCGA but lost a playoff to advance to state. Lucas Lee Torrance Jr. Won the Southern Section finals with a four-under 68 and had a 69 in the Western Divisional team event. Garrett Sapp Gahr Sr. Player of the year shot an even-par 72 at state and a two-under 70 at CIF-SCGA to lead Gladiators to best season. Cameron Tringale Mission Viejo Jr. Won the Southern Regional with a three-under 69 and shot a 70 at CIF-SCGA to qualify for state, where he shot 73. Coach of the year: Steve Orr, Gahr Led the Gladiators to first Southern Section title and a section-best fourth-place finish at state. *--*

SECOND TEAM

*--* Rory Hie Cerritos So. Tommy Lee Gahr So. Matt Pierce St. Margaret's Fr. Ryan Ritzau Dos Pueblos Sr. Derek Sipe Esperanza Sr. Colin Wilcox Camarillo Sr.

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THE TIMES' RANKINGS

RAFER WEIGEL'S FINAL BOYS' GOLF RANKINGS AND COMMENTS:

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