Even among teammates, there was competition Thursday in the finals of the Desert Empire League boys’ golf tournament.
“You are rooting to win, you want to win,” said Palm Desert High School’s Lucas Myers after beating out a pair of teammates to win the DEL individual title at the North Course at Indian Canyons Resort in Palm Springs. “I definitely wanted to win.”
Myers, a senior on a team dominated by freshmen, made an eight-foot putt on the final hole for a par-5, capping a round of 3-under 69 and giving him a two-day, 36-hole total of 2-under 142. That was one shot better than teammate and freshman Landon Breisch, who also shot 69 on Wednesday for his 143 total.
In all, six of the top eight players in the finals came from Palm Desert, the team that was undefeated in the DEL this season. The top seven advance to CIF-Southern Section preliminaries on Monday, but with one Palm Desert player, Max Margolis, not playing Monday because of a commitment to another tournament, Palm Desert will have five of the seven players advancing to the postseason.
The battle for the title came down to Myers, Breisch and Margolis, another freshman for Palm Desert. Myers knew that he was two shots behind Breisch and Margolis with four holes to play. Myers’ rally started with a 30-foot birdie on the 15th hole.
“Then 16 I burned the edge for birdie. On 17, I had to have it. Max was on the green and I had like a 10-footer, and I made it and he three-putted,” said Myers, who made two birdies in his final four holes to come from behind.
Told by Palm Desert coach Kurt Breitfuss that Breisch had bogeyed the par-5 18th hole, Myers knew he was now ahead by one shot.
“So I’m like, let’s play for a par,” Myers said. “And I kind of hit it in the trees, so I laid up, then I left it out (to the right), and got up and down for the par.”
Strong as team and individuals
Breitfuss, in his first year as Palm Desert head coach, said he tries to keep a competition going among his players even in the team setting of the regular season.
“Everybody has to qualify to get into matches, so I try to keep it real competitive through the season,” Breitfuss said. “We’ve got guys playing individuals who aren’t on the team for the (CIF-SS team regionals) a week from Monday. So it’s great, because there are now eight going (to the postseason) out of the 11 that played this year.”
Margolis finished alone in third at 144 including a 70 on Wednesday. Another Palm Desert senior, Cabot Ellis, finished fourth at 147 including a 73 in the final round.
Two players from Xavier Prep, junior Jace Johnson and junior Ethan Oleson, were fifth and sixth. Johnson shot 75 on Wednesday for a 150 total and Oleson, tied for the overnight lead with a 73, struggled at times with a 79 to take him to a 152 total.
Two more Palm Desert freshmen, Joshua Householder and Canden Breisch, tied for seventh at 153. But with Margolis playing in a U.S. Open local qualifying tournament, both Householder and Canden Breisch will advance to the Monday event at Los Serranos Country Club in Chino Hills. Tyler Garrison of La Quinta is now the first alternate at 154.