Pictures By , DiamondBarPatch
In favorable winds, Diamond Bar High School sophomore golfer Jason Chen said he shoots straight for the pin.
"When the wind is working against me, I play it safe," Chen said.
The combined strategy is what propelled Chen to best his first round of 70 with a second of 66 during CIF Hacienda League finals at the Mountain Meadows Golf Course in Pomona, where he said the wind is the toughest obstacle.
Chen's nearest competition going into the third round Wednesday lay behind by a whopping eight strokes. And those two golfers trailing in a tie for second are also on the Diamond Bar squad.
On top of that, the two fellow Brahmas tied for second place are freshmen — Brian Fong and Dean Sakata — which means that Diamond Bar's top three players are not yet upperclassmen.
"In a couple of years, I think we'll be state (championship) material," Sakata said.
But the Diamond Bar representation Wednesday continued in the fourth place spot, where Diamond Ranch's Michael Alvarez held a 147 over two rounds. Diamond Bar's Fong and Sakata both entered Wednesday's third round with a score of 144 over two rounds.
"We've got a strong and young team," Coach Ty Watkins said, "and we only have three seniors on the team."
In the Hacienda league, the team swept this season with an impressive 18-0 overall record and a 12-0 record in league, taking this year's title.
"We've got a pretty easy league," Sakata said, "but we proved ourselves in two recent tournaments."
After making a strong showing going into CIF individual competition Wednesday, the Brahmas will face team competition Monday, May 9, for the CIF Western Team Divisional tournament.
Chen said his hope is for the team to take CIF state competition by his senior year.
"Our goal is to win league for the next two years and to move on to win state," Chen said.
Chen said the third round of qualifying competition Wednesday is "just another round of golf."
"Every time I go out, I'm not playing against the other golfers," Chen said, "I'm playing against the course."
Chen was also playing against the clock Wednesday as his tee time was pushed back in order to complete an Advanced Placement calculus exam this morning, before the third round.
Former DBHS parent Roy Chenault, whose son was on the Brahma's first golf team in 1987, was also at the course Wednesday afternoon, waiting to tee off.
When his son hit the links for the team, Chenault said, it was just getting off the ground.
"I think the program has really grown," Chenault said.
Brahma's Athletic Director Kurt Davies said he was impressed with the team's undefeated performance this season.
"I could't be more proud of our golf team and the coaching staff," Davies said.
The top eight golfers out of third-round play Wednesday will go on to represent the Hacienda League in the CIF Southern Section Individual competition at Desert Willow in Palm Desert on May 16.
· Jason Chen (DB)—70+66=136+72=208 MVP
· Dean Sakata (DB) 70+74=144+72=216 1st Team
· Kevin Henley (BON)—77+73=150+69=219 1st Team
· Michael Alvarez (DR)73+74=147+72=219 1st Team
· Brian Fong (DB)—68+76=144+82=226 1st Team
· Keith Sakata (DB)—80+77=157+76=233 1st Team
· Cameron Salce (BON)—76+75=151+83=234 1st Team
· Ben Koyano (DB)—77+73=150+85=235 1st Team
· Tiffany Kuroki (WAL)—82+78=160+78=238 2nd Team
· Homerson So (WC)—81+79=160+80=240 2nd Team
· Kevin Liang (DB)—79+88=167+76=243 2nd Team
· Cesar Tungol (WAL)—76+86=162+81=243 2nd Team
· Dylan Harcourt (WAL)—81+84=165+79=244 2nd Team
· Brian Kao (LA)—78+78=156+92=248 2nd Team
· Jonathan Jo (ROW)—84+83=167+83=250 2nd Team
· Miles Frank (WC)—84+84=168+82=250 2nd Team
· John Tangan (WC)—84+85=169+83=252
· A. Romyanond (WAL)—82+84=166+89=255
· Daniel Kinjo (ROW)—84+89=173+85=258
· Matt V. (DR)—86+89=175+86=261
· Alex Carlos (WAL)—85+91=176+86=262
· Keith Brogan (BON)—91+88=179+84=263
· Zac Reeves (BON)—96+81=177+86=263
· Andrew Valdez (LA)—88+85=173+90=263
· Marcus Gomez (WC)—88+90=178+87=265
· Ping Tsai (LA)—86+97=183+83=266
· Brent Spivey (LA)—88+90=178+89=267
· Chris Lua (ROW)—86+89=175+99=274
· David Grainger (DR)—97+90=187+88=275
· Mark Salce (BON)—92+84=176+102=278
· Johnny Tentun (BON)—93+98=191+105=296