Sean Maruyama wins 2017 CIF/SCGA SoCal Boys Regional Championship
It's hard to deny the abundance of young golf talent that comes out of Southern California, and the place to identify future stars is undoubtedly the CIF/SCGA Regional Championship. Since the event's inception in 1971, the tournament has boasted winners such as Rickie Fowler (twice), Craig Stadler, John Cook, Phil Mickelson, Charley Hoffman and Tiger Woods, to name a few. At this event, the cream truly does seem to rise to the top.
Thursday at Brookside GC the trend continued, as rising star Sean Maruyama of Campbell HS added his name to the trophy, shooting a 4-under 68 to top the 122-player field by 2 strokes. Maruyama, who became one of the top junior players last year after winning the Western Junior, entered the Championship as the highest-ranked California junior boy on the Junior Golf Scoreboard (coming in at No. 11). After beginning his round par-bogey, Maruyama, son of three-time PGA TOUR winner Shigeki, played his final 16 holes in 5-under par, including collecting birdie on the challenging par-5 5th hole, which only saw nine birdies on the day.
"It feels great," said Maruyama. "It boosts my confidence for sure heading into State."
For Maruyama, he will be making his first trip to the State Championship, which takes place May 31 at Poppy Hills GC in Pebble Beach. Despite being eligible for the Regional Championship in 2016, his sophomore year, Maruyama's qualifying for the U.S. Four-Ball Championship instead had him in New York, where he and his partner were the youngest to advance to the match play portion of the event.
Also heading to the State Championship for the first time is Palm Desert HS, who won the team portion of Thursday's event in dominating fashion. Earning its first Regional Championship win since 2002, when no State Championship existed, Palm Desert will be heading to State for the first time.
"There are some "state" title banners hanging at school, but we all know those aren't really a State title," said junior Charlie Reiter, who helped his team advance with a 1-under par 71. "We're excited for the opportunity to try and win a real State title."
Palm Desert was led by Derrick Liu, who carded a 2-under 70, which also put him at T2 on the individual leaderboard. Palm Desert finished at 7-over par as a team, besting second-place Torrey Pines by 7 strokes. Finishing in third, and earning the final spot to the State Championship, was Anaheim Discovery Christian, who came in with a team score of 15-over par.
"We started off the season a little slow, but we really picked it up towards the second half of the season and have been playing really well as a team," said Reiter, who won the individual championship at this event last year. "It feels so much better to win as a team."
Along with the three qualifying teams, the top nine individuals not on a qualifying team also advance to Poppy Hills.
Palm Desert Aztecs
Torrey Pines Falcons
Anaheim Discovery Christian