MONTEREY — Santa Cruz resident Brendan Watson, a junior golfer for Palma School in Salinas, normally considers himself a “good wind player.” But what he and others endured at the Central Coast Section Boys Golf Championships at Laguna Seca Golf Ranch on Tuesday was next level.
Watson estimated winds blowing in the 15-20 mph range, with gusts up to 30 mph on the back nine. Moreover, he teed off in the morning, when coastal conditions are typically a bit more tame.
Headwinds, tailwinds, left to right, right to left … “All of the above,” Watson said of winds sweeping through the Chieftains’ home course. “It definitely likes to swirl out there.
Watson had finished with a 6-over-par 77, four strokes shy of forcing a playoff to advance to the CIF NorCal Championships. He had a triple-bogey on No. 10 after his ball clipped a tree and kicked right into a hazard, and he narrowly missed holing out his approach shot for birdie on No. 13 from 140 yards out. A couple inches, that was the difference between extending his high school season and what unfolded.
“It’s a brutal game,” he said, after tying for 20th place.
Watson was the only player from Santa Cruz County to compete in the championship round. Aptos’ Shane Garvey withdrew from the event after advancing from last week’s semifinals.
The top three teams and the top four individuals not on those three teams advance to the CIF NorCal Championships at Berkeley Country Club in El Cerrito on Monday.
Stanford University committed Anton Ouyang shot 1-under-par 70 for medalist honors and led Lynbrook (382) to a runner-up finish behind Crystal Springs Uplands (377). Stevenson (389) took third and also advanced to NorCal. Ouyang, a senior, was the only player to shoot under par.
Junipero Serra’s William Walsh (71) and Trevor Moquin (72), and Monta Vista’s Calvin Kong (73) and Ethan Lien (73) advanced to NorCal as individuals.
Edan Cui (72) of Crystal Springs Uplands tied for third and KC Mungali (75) of Crystal Springs Uplands tied for fifth.
Watson’s career best at Laguna Seca is 70. He shot 76 in the CCS Semifinals.
Watson plans to compete in numerous tournaments over the summer, including U.S. Junior Amateur qualifying at Stanford Course. He said he’ll carry a chip on his shoulder going into his senior season, if the wind doesn’t knock it off, that is.
“This is further motivation for next year,” he said.