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Saugus' Braden Lewis: Quietly confident

Braden Lewis plays with a style that fits his understated personality

Posted: March 26, 2013 10:44 p.m.
Updated: March 26, 2013 10:44 p.m.

Saugus junior Braden Lewis finished in fourth place in overall Foothill League scoring last year.

 

One of the best compliments one could pay a golfer is calling their game “boring.”

Right down the middle of the fairway off the tee. Up on the green. Maybe a two-putt. In the hole.

No adventure. Substance over style. Just boring, par golf.

A rival Foothill League coach paid that compliment to Saugus High junior golfer Braden Lewis.

It suits him just fine.

After all, some might interpret his personality as being, well, let’s just say he’s quiet.

“He doesn’t talk at all,” says Saugus head coach David Stradling. “He’ll talk if I engage him in a golf conversation. He rarely leads talking. If you don’t look at him and talk, he won’t say a lot. Every once in a while, I’ll get a question. But it’s pretty rare.”

Actually, Lewis is a pretty rare kid.

He expresses himself through what he wears and carries a heavy burden for a kid his age.

The young golfer wears a brand of clothing called “Loudmouth” that eccentric PGA Tour veteran John Daly has made popular.

“Freshman year, I took out the John Daly pants. They are pretty exotic,” Lewis says. “I took them out and coach told me I was more the outgoing type. The yellows and bright colors I like to stand out.”

He even spray painted his driver pink last year as a nod to Bubba Watson after his win at The Masters last year.

It’s quite the dichotomy.

“I guess I’m a little shy,” he adds.

Lewis grew up playing baseball and was good enough to play on a travel team as a youth. It’s a sport he shared playing with his father, John, and brother, Mitch.

But he started to grow tired of the sport and gravitated toward golf.

His uncle, Rick Stegall, was the head golf professional at Vista Valencia Golf Course and is now the Director of Golf at Lakeside Golf Club in Burbank.

Lewis began learning the game through Stegall and started developing a reputation as an up-and-comer.

Stradling says he knew of Lewis as an incoming freshman and knew he had a potential future No. 1 golfer for the Centurions’ lineup.

When Lewis was in eighth grade, John died.

It’s a point where Stegall says golf became a welcome distraction for his nephew.

“He kind of connected baseball with his dad. ... It became a reminder, and he looked for something different. Something more where he could be by himself,” Stegall says.

Golf became that.

Because of a natural athletic ability and dedication to the game, Lewis became better at the sport.

It all came together for him last season.

In the first league match of the year, he tied for the second best score. By league season’s end, his 76.8 stroke average put him at the No. 4 spot in the Foothill League and earned him a berth in the CIF-Southern Section postseason.

Consistency is what sets him apart. He’s not long off the tee, he’s still learning about course management. But he has a plan with all his shots and usually makes good with that plan.

Now he, along with West Ranch’s Joey Downey, who finished second in the Foothill last year, are just about everybody’s two horses in the race for 2013 league player of the year.

“I care about it a lot,” Lewis says of the player of the year. “I try to keep my mind off it and play my game. Forget about the score. Steady mindset. Worry about shots.”

Since he’s so quiet, not many people know what’s going through his mind. There are those who say he’s so hard to read because he doesn’t get up and he doesn’t get down.

With golf being such a mental game, the quiet kid with the loud pants might have a major advantage in 2013.

“I think he’s the best golfer in our league,” Stradling says.

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