By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor
Palisades High did not have the best golfer last Wednesday at the City Championships, but it did have far and away the best team—and that is just what the Dolphins had come to prove.
Palisades’ score of 361 was not only 24 strokes fewer than runner-up Granada Hills, it was 22 shots less than the Dolphins’ winning total last spring when they shot 383 to win by one stroke.
“We shot 1-over as a team today which is pretty impressive all things considered,” Coach Dave Suarez said. “Gavin [Loughran] shot a 69 and the five other guys all shot in the low to mid-70s. When you have that kind of depth you’ve got a great chance to win in this format.”
One day before his 18th birthday, Loughran nearly gave himself an early present. He missed a four-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole that would have given him the lead and he ultimately settled for second place at 3-under par. Turner Osswald, playing one group behind, birdied the 18th hole to win the individual title with a 4-under 68.
Loughran turned in a clean card after finishing with three birdies—on holes 7, 14 and 16—and no bogies. The highlight was a downhill left- to -right putt from 20 feet to save par at No. 13.
Palisades’ last individual champion was Ray Yang, who captured back-to-back City titles in 2016-17. The Dolphins’ collective efforts earned them their 22nd team crown—more than any other school—and moved them 10 ahead of their West Valley League rivals, who are second with 12 total. In fact, Palisades and Granada Hills have combined to win the last nine section titles.
“It definitely benefits us having a team like Granada Hills in our league because we not only play them three or four times a year, but it’s a measuring stick of where we’re at as a program,” Suarez said. “Usually it’s closer than this score, but our guys came to play today.”
Pali High senior Bill Enkhbold, who shot -1 to take second last season, shot the same score this time and finished sixth. He birdied Nos. 4, 7 and 14 and bogeyed Nos. 8 and 13.
“I was satisfied with this score a year ago but not this year,” said Enkhbold, who may try to walk on at UC Riverside. “Today I missed a two-footer for par on 13 and I felt 16 through 18 could’ve all been birdies. I was pretty sure we’d win the team title but this was my last shot to be the individual winner. Having Jaden [Vann] with me all four years has been great. Where have I improved most? I’d say mentally. I can flick the switch on now when I need to.”
Equaling Enkbold at 71 was teammate Alec Lam, who placed fourth by virtue of his lower back nine score. Junior Kourey Patterson was eighth after a 2-over 74 and Campbell Viles tied Vann for 10th overall after both fired 76s.
The Dolphins qualified for today’s Southern California Regionals at Brooskside Golf Club.
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