Prep Impressions: May 2, 2012

I covered the Big VIII League Boys Golf Individual Finals on Wednesday, May 2, 2012 for The Press-Enterprise and came away thinking Aaron Wise (far left, in light blue above) has a lot more to offer.

He’s just a 16-year-old sophomore and already 6-foot-2. His drives are 320-ish and he possesses a short game years beyond where others his age hack.

He’s what could be termed phenomenal, if golf phenoms weren’t so very cliché.

And the fact that he beat everyone else playing in the Big VIII by eight strokes, shooting a 2-under 70 on a course no one had much experience on, well, it says plenty.

Wise means business, and will be the dominant force in the Big VIII for the foreseeable future.

Others wilted and bloomed Wednesday, from Thomas Kummerfield’s 4-over thru four, to Ryan Odom’s just-good-enough 82 to Andrew Carlson running off with bags of cookies after shooting a 74 to qualify for the first time in his career.

There was a lot more going on than just Wise, although he did play the best, putting himself in a position to become the story.

Kummerfield (Riverside King) is a funny, flippant dude with a beguiling, perhaps slightly bipolar attitude. He was really good-natured about his 84.

“I just wasn’t in control of my golf ball. From tee to green,” Kummerfield said. “Little bit (nervous) but not overly. I was able to get over it. There were a few holes where my game wasn’t where it needed to be. Gonna have to make a lot fewer mistakes, clean it up. Play consistent.”

Odom (Corona Santiago) didn’t want to talk but I prodded him a little and he said saying something he probably shouldn’t have. He wasn’t real happy about the way he played.

“Hoping (to be in the Top 9). That’s about it,” Odom said. “It’s pretty simple. I just played horrible. Both days I started fine just progressively got worse; too many bogeys, putted like crap.”

Carlson (Corona Centennial) was about as happy-go-lucky as it gets. He had missed qualifying for CIF-SS Individuals by just one position the last two years, coming in eighth when the Big VIII received just seven spots. (They now have nine.) He was having a real senior moment.

“See… I’m kinda like having joint problems with my shoulder and on Monday I popped out my shoulder kinda so that kinda hurt and I had to play a round with a really messed-up shoulder,” Carlson said. “Besides that… I didn’t play that bad on Monday… it’s just that I couldn’t really make anything happen. Some days it’ll pop and some days it won’t. I go to the chiropractor like once a month to get that checked out. When I play and it pops I have to somehow come over that and play better. Today I played better than Ryan (Odom), and he was in the nine-spot so (Santiago coach John Lane) told be I’ve got an automatic spot. That’s pretty awesome.”

And then there’s Poly’s Greg Gonzalez. Like Wise, he’s a sophomore, and every bit as analytic about his own game. He tied for fourth after shooting a 77.

“I’m pretty sure I’m gonna make it (into the Top 9), but I’m just not happy with the way I played today,” Gonzalez said. “I hit a lot of good shots it’s just that my score didn’t reflect it. The greens were so tough. I thought that was the hardest part about the course. They bounce, they’re on ridges… it’s hard to score, even if you hit it close. My first time (playing The Legends GC) was Monday. Our coach told us… he kept nagging us… to play a practice round and everybody did. I just didn’t have time. I think this was important; molding my character (by) being with the team. I think I only had one birdie on 12, that’s it. I hit a lot of good shots I just couldn’t get the ball in the hole; really frustrated me.”

The two-day tournament was hosted by Riverside King. Wolves coach Kevin LeDuc said he was rebuffed by 15 other courses when he sought to organize the event before Temeku welcomed him completely.

“They’ve been great to us. I couldn’t have asked for more,” LeDuc said.

Norco Boys Golf Coach Reiny Klein will be hard pressed to beat it. Klein was on hand and served as official starter, quizzing the players in order determines the initial playing order. Klein’s first question to one group was, “Who was the third President of the United States?”

After an almost-too-long pause, Ryan Odom said “Thomas Jefferson,” and returned breath to my almost lifeless body. Funny, Odom didn’t get many more 3s after answering the Jefferson question.

Eight of the nine CIF-Southern Qualifiers. From left: Tristan Stone (Riverside Poly), Aaron Wise (Corona Santiago), Andrew Carlson (Corona Centennial), Greg Gonzalez (Riverside Poly), Jared Nepomucero (Corona Santiago), Ryan Odom (Corona Santiago), Agostino Milazzo (Riverside Poly) and Thomas Kummerfield (Riverside King). Not pictured: Eric Cross (Riverside Poly).

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