Tim Berger Staff Photographer

Collin Morikawa and the La Canada High golf team defeated St. Francis on Monday. (Tim Berger Staff Photographer / April 7, 2014)

PASADENA — Shortly after the La Cañada High and St. Francis boys’ golf teams arrived at Brookside Golf Course No. 2 to compete in a nonleague match Monday, it didn’t take long to spot a potential inconvenience on the greens.

PHOTOS: St. Francis vs. La Cañada boys' golf

The venue recently underwent aerfication, designed to loosen soil that has been compacted by golfers walking over it and leading to the greens featuring a lot of sand and divots.

The nuisance didn’t seem to bother Collin Morikawa much, though, as he carded a three-under par 32 to earn medalist honors and help La Cañada register a 179-199 victory.

“When we got here, we didn’t know the greens had been punched,” said Morikawa, the reigning All-Area Boys’ Golfer of the Year. “You just have to go out there and forget about it and start making shots.

“Once you start thinking about the course being punched, then things can get bad.”
La Cañada, which captured the Rio Hondo League championship last season, improved to 7-1. St. Francis, which placed second in the Mission League last season, fell to 5-3.

Morikawa, the league’s defending individual champion, said his short game helped him once he arrived on the greens.

“I went out there and made a couple of birdies and putts,” Morikawa said. “I had to be able to play pretty consistent because we knew St. Francis would be a good matchup.

“There were a few good scores. Both of our teams are good and will move on [to the CIF playoffs].”

The Spartans got a 35 from Clark Lee, a 36 from Joshua Suh and 38s from Sam Bernstein and Robby Stehlin. St. Francis was led by Michael Finney and Stian Lindvedt, both of whom posted 38s. Johnny Brandt had a 39 for the Golden Knights, who got 42s from Joe Sardi and Michael Mozilo.

St. Francis second-year Coach Kyle Ostrom, the reigning All-Area Boys’ Golf Coach of the Year, said he was a bit disappointed with the Golden Knights’ scores.

“I really thought we’d shoot better,” Ostrom said. “It’s tough that the greens were punched, making it a crapshoot, but Collin going three-under is impressive.

“We still have some ways to go to get back on track. We just want to be able to shoot a little lower.”