By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor

The objective for the Palisades High boys golf team heading into last Wednesday’s City Section Championships was to shoot under 380—the score that won Granada Hills the title last spring.

Ali Zafar-Khan blasts out of a trap during his round last Wednesday.
Photos by Steve Galluzzo

By the end of the 18-hole competition at Griffith Park’s Wilson course, the Dolphins had achieved their goal by shooting 379, but the celebration again belonged to their West Valley League rivals, who had the top two individuals and repeated as champions with a low score of 370.

“I was joking with [Granada Hills] Coach [Chris] Archeta that you should buy me dinner because we make you play your best to beat us,” Pali High Coach James Paleno said. “Our mantra all year has been to beat 380 and we did that… unfortunately it wasn’t quite good enough today.”

Palisades beat Granada Hills by one stroke in the teams’ first league encounter at Knollwood Country Club but the Highlanders got revenge in their second meeting at Rancho Park, then won the rubber match at League Finals at Wilson.

David Wong fired a three-under par to earn medalist honors and teammate Leo Cheng shot a 71. The Dolphins’ low score was an even-par 72 by sophomore Charlie Lovett, who was third overall and completed his round about the same time his older brother Henry won the City tennis title in Encino.  

Freshman Jaden Vann reads the break on the 17th green at City Finals

Freshman Bilguudei Enkhbold shot a 73, sophomore Noah Mirza shot a 77, freshman Jaden Vann shot a 78 while sophomore Jackson Nettleship and senior captain Ali Zafar-Khan carded 79s as the Dolphins earned a trip to Pasadena for today’s Southern California Regionals at Brookside Golf Club.

Lovett birdied the 14th, 15th and 18th holes, the last a 15-footer uphill from right to left. Zafar-Khan read a double break for a 25-foot birdie at No. 11,  Nettleship birdied No. 12, Enkhbold sank a 40-footer for birdie at No. 6 and 20-footer for birdie at No. 14, Vann hit his approach to six feet to birdie No. 17 and Mirza birdied the fifth, 14th and 18th holes, nearly making eagle at No. 14.

“We all played pretty well and I like playing the full 18 holes because if you have a bad front nine you  can turn it around,” said Vann, who equaled his score at league finals. “   

Noah Merza pumps his fist after draining a birdie putt on the 18 hole.