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A second chance

Posted: April 23, 2008 2:41 a.m.
Updated: June 24, 2008 5:02 a.m.

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It was a missed putt that ultimately cost Hart High golfer Johnny MacArthur the Foothill League Most Valuable Player in 2007.

He's not about to let that happen this year.

The senior shot a medalist three-under 69 at TPC Valencia Tuesday on the first day of two at the Newhall Land Cup/Foothill League Finals.

MacArthur now leads Valencia's Max Homa by five strokes for the MVP.

West Ranch won its fifth straight Foothill League match with a 391 - edging second place Hart which scored 395.

The final round will be played today and will determine the three representative teams from the Foothill for the CIF-Southern Section playoffs as well as the six individuals who qualify for the postseason.

The winner of the tournament gets an automatic berth.

It would mean a ton for MacArthur, who's solid varsity career has included two consecutive All-Santa Clarita Valley selections. He will also play golf at Pepperdine in the fall.

The preseason favorite for the MVP had not had a medalist performance in league play this season.

"I've kind of been under the radar all season," MacArthur said. "All year I haven't done anything special. Just played solid. Today I kind of came out of my shell."

MacArthur made five birdies and two bogeys. He made 16 greens in regulation.

Homa shot an even-par 72 and is also second in competition for the Newhall Land Cup individual title.

Last year, MacArthur was on No. 18 and missed a 10-footer that would have given him the league MVP at the Newhall Land Cup. It went instead to current Cal State Northridge golfer and former Saugus star Nick Delio.

"It totally reminds me of last year," MacArthur said. "Last year I made a 10 on No. 3 and still shot a 73. Hopefully this year I'll keep my mind in it."

The top six golfers in league as it stands are MacArthur, Homa, West Ranch's Ryan Weltig, Jay Lim and J.J. Holen and Hart's Tanner Diaz.

But the Newhall Land Cup winner gets an automatic bid to the individual playoffs.

Lurking at four strokes behind MacArthur is Collin Wheeler - the 2007 Newhall Land Cup champion.

Wheeler missed the first two league matches due to personal issues, so the only way he can make the postseason is with a repeat victory.

The junior made two birdies and one bogey.

"It's always fun to try and repeat it," Wheeler said. "It was what I've been thinking about the last couple of months.

I'm going to have to shoot about 4-under to win this."

He added that the main goal is for the Wildcats team to win today.

The Wildcats have won all five league matches this season and lead second-place Valencia by 43 strokes for the league title.

Barring a total meltdown today, West Ranch should win.

Hart will have to make up 23 strokes today to surpass Valencia.

The Vikings shot a team score of 397 Tuesday.

Saugus shot a 432, led by the consistent play of Justin Hancock who turned in his fourth score of 80 in league competition.

Golden Valley shot a 447, led by Robert Pile's 82.

Canyon shot a team score of 519 with Justin Golden and Paco Franco contributing 88s.

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