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The Decider

Wheeler leads West Ranch to Foothill League title

Posted: April 29, 2009 10:18 p.m.
Updated: April 30, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Hart High School's Mitch Camerano reads the ninth green during a league match Wednesday at TPC Valencia.

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West Ranch golfer Collin Wheeler matched his score from two years ago to again claim the Newhall Land Cup (the two-day tournament coinciding with the last two Foothill League matches) and his Wildcats also clinched the Foothill League title Wednesday at TPC Valencia.

On an extremely eventful day, a lot of other things fell into place as well.

Valencia’s Max Homa claimed the 2009 Foothill League’s Most Valuable Player prize, given to the golfer with the lowest number of total strokes in league, and the six individual spots for CIF Individual Playoffs were settled.

Wheeler’s main competition for the Newhall Land Cup came from teammate J.J. Holen, who led him by three strokes going into hole No. 14.

Holen double-bogeyed 14 and bogeyed 17 and 18, opening the door for Wheeler, who was the co-leader going into Wednesday.

Wheeler was even over the last five holes and finished with a 1-over 73 Wednesday to bring his two-day total to 2-under 142 — one stroke better than Holen.

“It means a lot,” said the four-year event’s only two-time winner. “The whole round I was thinking, ‘This is my last high school league match. It would be nice to win the cup.’”

Wheeler made three birdies and four bogeys, having to three-putt four times on the quick greens at TPC.

His satisfaction for claiming the cup was evidently as much as claiming the team league title.

Going into Tuesday’s match, West Ranch and Valencia were tied in the league standings.

West Ranch shot 380 Wednesday to Valencia’s 393.

The Wildcats won five of six league matches this year.

“The first couple of matches we thought we’d win (the league title) no problem,” Wheeler said. “All of a sudden Valencia came up from behind us.”

Give a lot of that credit to the steady play of Homa.

The senior Homa was three strokes better than the sophomore Holen this year, throwing out each player’s high score.

“I wanted to win this,” Homa said of the MVP. “It was hard to play in the shadow of (former Valencia and current Harvard golfer) Louis Amira, (former Saugus and current Cal State Northridge golfer) Nick Delio and (former Hart and current Pepperdine golfer) Johnny MacArthur. I never got the credit. They deserved the spotlight. I just wanted to put my name with them.”

Homa, Holen, Valencia’s Alex Macaluso, Hart’s Tanner Diaz, Wheeler and Valencia’s Jonathan Chang earned a place in the CIF-Southern Section Northern Individual Regional at Sterling Hills Golf Course in Camarillo on May 18.

Joining West Ranch and Valencia in the CIF-Southern Section Northern Team Regional at Soule Park will be Hart.

The Indians finished in third place for the sixth time in six league contests, shooting a team score of 406 Thursday.

“I think we have our best to come as a team,” Diaz said. “We have nothing to lose.”

Saugus finished fourth Thursday with a 415, led by Justin Hancock’s 81. The Centurions ended up fourth in league, as well.

Canyon was fifth with a 450. Justin Golden shot an 86 Thursday. The Cowboys finished the season in fifth place.

Golden Valley received an 82 from Austin Wolitarsky and shot 452 for the day. The Grizzlies finished the season in sixth place.

cosborne@the-signal.com

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