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Foothill golf: Foothill fight to the finish

After league match No. 6, all races will be decided today

Posted: April 27, 2010 10:00 p.m.
Updated: April 28, 2010 4:55 a.m.

West Ranch's C.J. Espino tees off on the seventh hole during Day One of the Newhall Land Cup on Tuesday at TPC Valencia.

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It's a perfect ending to the Foothill League boys golf season that Valencia's Jonathan Chang and West Ranch's C.J. Espino are grouped together for the final league match of the season today.

After finishing one-two on Day One of the Newhall Land Cup at TPC Valencia on Tuesday, Espino and Chang will golf in the first group today.

It could determine who wins the individual Newhall Land Cup. More importantly, it will determine who is the Foothill League's Most Valuable Player.

With West Ranch having all but won the team league title, four races will be decided today - the MVP, the cup winner, the battle for the second place team finish and the seven spots for CIF-Southern Section Individual playoffs.

Chang shot a 3-under 69 on Tuesday to claim medalist honors. Right behind him was Espino with a 70.

In the MVP race, Espino leads Chang. The award goes to the player with the lowest amount of total strokes. With their worst score from league play thrown out, Espino leads 286-287.

"I just have to not think about what he's doing," Espino said of playing with Chang today.

Said Chang: "It's not me versus him. It's me versus the golf course. ... It is my home course. I know all the tricks out here."

Yet both players might have to contend with the elements today, as strong wind and even a chance of rain were forecasted.

Espino said he will play safe on some holes and attack the par-5s and on the greens.

Chang said he's not concerned with the conditions because of his familiarity with the course.

Another interesting race is the one for second place in league.

The top three teams from the Foothill League will make the postseason, but the second-place team will play with stronger groups in the first round of the playoffs, which is seen as a psychological advantage as young golfers tend to play to the level of their competition.

While West Ranch finished first for the fifth consecutive match, this time with a league-season best 372, and will easily win the league title, Saugus and Valencia will come down to the wire for second overall.

On Tuesday, Saugus shot a 409, led by Zack Leonard's 78 on the par-72 course. Valencia shot a 412. Saugus is one stroke better than Valencia on the season.

"Yeah, I think they'd like it," said Saugus head coach David Stradling on if his kids would be excited by a second-place overall finish. "It also gives us something to look forward to for next year."

Saugus has never finished above third place in league.

Hart finished in fourth place with a 436, led by an 81 from Zach Blake.

Canyon finished in fifth place with a 442. Justin Golden's 79 led the way.

Both teams are out of the playoff race.

Golden Valley finished sixth with a 517, led by an 88 from Sean Weiss.


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