For most of his high school career Dakota Ochoa has been a three-sport athlete at Liberty.

From this point on, he will put the emphasis on one: golf.

It’s not necessarily his favorite, “It’s just what I’m best at,” he said.

Ochoa was at his best during his senior year as he led the Southwest Yosemite League in stroke average at 71.57. He also had the lowest score among Kern County golfers at the Central Section Championships at River Island Country Club in Porterville at 71.

That is why Ochoa is the BVarsity All-Area Boys Golfer of the Year for the second year running.

Ochoa will focus on golf at Chico State as his collegiate career gets under way this fall.

“He’s a special kid,” Liberty golf coach Kirk Bowyer said of Ochoa. “He’s a multi-sport athlete and has been for a long time. He really came into golf late and worked diligently the last few years.

“He can hit a mile, he has a deft touch around the green and an aggressive putter. He has no fear. He has the ability to go low. There is no fear when he’s two or three under, he just keeps going.”

Not bad for a guy who had to limit his golf time due to his participation in other sports.

This summer has been a different story. In past years Ochoa would be concentrating on football in 7-on-7 competition.

These days you’ll find him on the links.

“I’ve been playing a lot more golf this summer,” he said.

As for his final prep season, Ochoa said it was good, until the end.

“I’m happy with how I played in league, not how I played at regionals (a six-over 76). I just did not play well at all," Ochoa said. 

But to keep moving forward, golfers have to be adept at putting bad rounds in the rearview mirror and Ochoa said he’s good at doing so.

“Mentally I don’t really get too down on myself,” he said. “I just forget about it and move on. Go forward.”

And looking ahead he’s eager to get going at Chico State.

“I was going to the Air Force Academy but I failed my hearing test after I passed everything else,” Ochoa said. “The Chico State coach emailed me. I visited and I thought it was a perfect fit.

“They are a really good Division II team with a strong schedule.”

As for a last glimpse into the rearview mirror, he said his best memory was probably a round from two seasons ago.

“Probably my junior year when I shot 68 at Stockdale (Country Club) where I was a member,” he said.

Despite Ochoa’s individual success, the Patriots never won a league title while he was there.

“We always had a pretty good team but we never got the league championship, we were second the last two years,” he said. “But I think we had the best coach.”

Mike Griffith can be reached at 661 395-7390. Follow him on Twitter at @MikeGriffith54. 

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