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Grizzlies' golf sets the bar higher than ever

Posted: March 31, 2014 10:51 p.m.
Updated: March 31, 2014 10:51 p.m.

Golden Valley golfers, from left, Jonathan Kang, Raymond Asuncion and Kameron Hobbs make up what could be the best trio in team history.

 

It was the fall and there was talk that a Golden Valley girls golf program could possibly finish on top of the Foothill league for the first time in school history.

Prior to 2012, the program had never reached the postseason and was pretty much a pushover to its Foothill League foes.

Golden Valley head coach Tony Moskal, usually outspoken, had high hopes for his girls golf team before the season began, but danced around being definitive about his team’s chances at winning a league title.

“I’ll say this, yes we can (win a Foothill title). We have the ability to. Then again, so do three other teams,” he said.

Now it’s the spring, and a different Golden Valley program — the boys — which have never finished above fifth place in the Foothill League have high hopes.

And Moskal is definitive about this team.

“I will tell you, we are making the playoffs. We’re going to make the playoffs,” Moskal said. “I think people are going to walk off the golf course upset they lost to Golden Valley.”

The major reason for this optimism is three young players — sophomores Jonathan Kang and Kameron Hobbs and freshman Raymond Asuncion.

Kang finished fifth overall in the Foothill League last season with an average score of 80.2, Hobbs finished 10th at 83.4 and Asuncion, Moskal said, has the potential to be one of the league’s top golfers down the road.

The school has never had this quality of boys golfers in its seven seasons as a program.

“The impression on the Golden Valley golf team was they don’t really have any potential,” says Hobbs of what he knew of the program prior to coming into high school.

His sister helped change that thought process on the girls’ side.

Amanda Hobbs graduated in 2013 and played on Grizzlies teams early on that were barely competitive.

In her last two seasons, she qualified for the CIF individual playoffs each year and was on the first golf team in 2012 to qualify for the CIF postseason.

Kameron, who was the first child in the Hobbs family to play golf, ended up learning from his sister the desire to make Golden Valley a relevant golf program.

“I think we can move out of that hibernation stage and show we can make some improvement and be a problem, I guess you can say,” Hobbs says.

Kang will be a problem for every golfer.

After Saugus’ Braden Lewis, he is the second best returning golfer in the Foothill League, based off last year’s scores.

That means Kang is a definite Foothill League Most Valuable Player (the award that goes to the golfer with lowest amount of total strokes) candidate.

And he’s hungry.

The final two Foothill League matches of the year are always played at TPC Valencia and double as a tournament called the Newhall Land Cup.

After 18 holes, Kang led with a 1-over 73.

He shot a 93 the final 18.

“I got all my motivation from day two of the Newhall Cup,” said Kang, whose sister Susan played in the girls program. “I experienced what defeat was.”

Kang is most dedicated to his short game, practicing two hours on that per every hour on his long game.

Thus, he is one of the league’s best in that area.

And he’s armed with more confidence this season.

“Yeah, I think we’re going to make some noise this year,” Kang said.

Kang said it’s because of depth.

Last year, Golden Valley’s next best golfer finished 30th overall in league.

With Asuncion, that shouldn’t happen.

And Asuncion, who has been playing golf since he was 8 years old, said he couldn’t care less about the past.

“Coming in I didn’t really don’t know much or care about the standings,” Asuncion says. “I just wanted to play for fun, but at the same time be competitive and help out any school I came into.”

In the past, Golden Valley wasn’t getting kids like this trio.

Moskal says where some schools were holding weeklong tryouts, he put kids on a team based off one swing.

“Now that we’re winning, I get kids come up to me at school and say, ‘Hey I want to try out,’” Moskal says.

Golf is seen as a sport of affluence and Moskal says the newer Fair Oaks Ranch housing tract has helped bring in more golfers to the school.

The results of all are what was seen with the girls program.

And maybe this year with the boys program.

For the first time ever, there are expectations for both.

And that says it all.

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