By Keith Lair
BOYS GOLFER OF THE YEAR: Alrik Pan, Walnut
With the success the Walnut High School golf program has had in recent seasons, it can be tough to break into the starting lineup. Especially for a freshman.
Alrik Pan showed it was not an issue this season. Not only did he break into the lineup, the freshman became the first Walnut boy to advance to the CIF State finals.
That’s hard to believe considering all the success the Mustangs’ girls have had, taking second in the state this past school year. But Pan is the first boy to advance to the CIF/SCGA Southern California Regionals and CIF State, earning San Gabriel Valley Tribune player of the year honors.
“No, I did not think I would be getting there,”Pan said. “I knew I had the ability to get there. I had played with all of those players before. But you have to do well that day. I just brought my game to all of the qualifiers. I did well.”
Pan won the Hacienda League title and barely advanced out of the CIF Southern Section Central Regionals, shooting a 3-over-par 75 at Indian Canyons Golf Resort in Palm Springs and surviving a seven-player sudden-death playoff for five spots.
It was easier after that. He shot a 4-over-par 75 at Mission Lakes Country Club in Desert Hot Springs to tie for 13th at the all-division CIF-SS finals. It earned him a spot in the CIF/SCGA tournament.
“I had a lot of rounds under par and that gave me a lot of confidence for the real tournaments,” he said. “I was so relaxed playing with my friends. I was not as nervous and that’s why I did well. We were just having a fun time.”
He shot a 1-under-par 71 at Brookside Golf Course in Pasadena to tie for eighth and advance to the state finals at San Gabriel Country Club. He had four birdies to start the back nine to take the early lead in the biggest high school tournament of his career, but struggled on the front nine to finish in 11th place to finish with a 1-over-par 72.
“I just didn’t make the putts,” he said. “They did not go my way.”
In team competition, he led the Mustangs with a fourth-place tying 1-under-par 71 at Whispering Lakes Golf Course. Walnut finished tied for fifth.
COACH OF THE YEAR: CECIL WOODS, WALNUT
Walnut High School got one golfer over the hump. Now it’s time for coach Cecil Woods to get the others there, too.
That hump? Advancing to the all-division CIF Southern Section team finals. The Mustang girls team has done it several times. The boys have not.
That one hump was freshman Alrik Pan getting to the CIF State finals. Senior Rami Abdou nearly reached the all-division CIF-SS finals, losing in a sudden-death playoff. Three other golfers also qualified for the individual regionals.
It was enough for Woods to earn San Gabriel Valley Tribune coach of the year honors.
Despite the rousing success in the individuals, the Mustangs failed to advance out of team competition, finishing tied for fifth in the Western Division finals.
Rami Abdou, Walnut, senior
Raynard Belmonte, Diamond Ranch, senior
Adrian Edralin, Walnut, sophomore
Julio Ibarra, Glendora, sophomore
Josh Song, Diamond Bar, senior
Dylan Stone, Diamond Bar, senior
Danny Barnes, Bonita, senior
Sam Cho, Diamond Bar, freshman
Jacob Ewing, Glendora, senior
Thomas Lee, Diamond Bar, sophomore
Jarrett Perry, Bonita, junior
Nathan Wu, Walnut, junior