PORTERVILLE — The math whiz present at the end of the Central Section Boys Golf Championship was the most popular person around.
After the tournament was over, the gaggle of coaches, golfers and spectators surrounded the leaderboard speculating and doing the addition.
One thing added up quickly — the round was very good as a whole at River Island Country Club in Porterville on Monday. But not for Kern County, however.
At first, Liberty senior Dakota Ochoa was the lone local to automatically advance to the CIF Southern California Regionals at Brookside Golf Course in Pasadena.
Then it was quickly realized that a 2-over-73 at the par 71 course was going to be the cut. Only problem was there were seven golfers that came in with the exact score for the four remaining individual spots to SoCal, meaning three would be gone.
Locally, Liberty’s Hayden Hughes and Adam Duncan along with Stockdale’s David Chhuon Chan were in the card-off.
Hughes and Duncan made it through, but the standout freshman for the Mustangs was left out, leaving just three Kern County golfers advancing. All three happened to be from Liberty.
“We came in and coach (Kirk Bowyer) said to us to go out and just put up the best scores that we can,” Ochoa said.
Liberty’s team score of 385 was the best round of the season for the Patriots. It also placed them third overall behind champions Clovis North (358) and Clovis (374). The top-two teams, and top-12 individuals outside of the top-two teams, advanced to SoCal.
Clovis senior Jackson Lake won the individual title with a 5-under 66.
Ochoa was 2-over through the first 10 holes and said he was able to settle in. He hit two birdies without a bogie the final eight holes to score even-par and advance to regionals for the second time before he heads to Chico State on scholarship.
“I knew finishing that I had two par-5 holes, which helped,” Ochoa said. “I know I got off to a rough start. I hit a (ball out of bounds) on my fourth hole. I just kept hitting the green and making my putts.”
Bowyer said that the three moving on to SoCal have been the top golfers for Liberty all season.
“We’ve been peaking the last three weeks and really getting the young guys (playing well) has been the big thing for me, to get those young guys some decent scores up there,” Bowyer said.
Hughes is a junior playing in his first regionals and Duncan, a sophomore, is now a two-time regional qualifier.
Tough day for Kern
Golf is an unrelenting sport with very little wiggle room for error.
Garces senior Maverick Pavletich can attest.
The South Area champion was rolling through the first six holes with a 2-under. Then the nightmare of the 14th-hole reared its ugly head again for Pavletich.
Two years ago Pavletich hit a quadruple bogey on 14. On Monday, his driver did him wrong and he shot a six-over 10 on the hole. In turn, he went from 2-under to 4-over in a blink and missed the cut to regionals by three strokes despite shooting 1-under the other 17 holes.
Highland’s Madhav Raja and Frontier’s Donovan Simos both shot 76, while Bakesfield Christian’s Jacob Maran shot a 77.
Central Section Boys Golf Championships
At River Island Country Club, Porterville
Top-2 teams and top 12 individuals not on top-2 teams advanced to CIF Southern California Regionals
CLOVIS NORTH (358): Ai. Tran 68, Markarian 68, Lee 72, Au. Tran, 73, Rutledge 77, Sperling 78
CLOVIS (374): Lake 66, Ruskofsky 75, Foster 76, Ohashi 78, Watkins 79, Lane 79
CLOVIS-BUCHANAN (390): Boe 70, Bettencourt 73, Chiarito 79, Hartman 81, Bergstom 87, Ashman 88
LIBERTY (385): Ochoa 71, Hughes 73, Duncan 73, Stennitt 82, Borda 86, Cimental 93,
GARCES (398): Chawengchawali 75, Pavletich 76, Briscoe 83, Cinquemani 83, Sacco 83, Bank 84
STOCKDALE (410): Chhuon Chan 73, Paulson 80, Gorla 81, Beck 89, Brown 87, Yang 89
ARROYO GRANDE (390): Avritt 70, Feldman 76, Patel 77, Havenmose 78, Matson 89, Murray 92.
SAN LUIS OBISPO (395): Perry 71, Jackson 79, Compton 79, Gorton 80, Martin 86, Zkaria 86
Individuals advancing to SoCal: Boe, Buchanan, 70; Stark, Visalia-Central Valley Christian, 70; Avritt, Arroyo Grande, 70; Ochoa, Liberty, 71; Kuest, Clovis West, 71; Perry, San Luis Obispo 71; Takeuchi, Clovis West, 72; G. Mouser, Fresno-Bullard, 72; Duncan, Liberty, 73; Hughes, Liberty, 73; Bettencourt, Clovis-Buchanan, 73; Miller, Clovis West, 73.
Locals; Raja, Highland, 76; Simos, Frontier, 76; Maran, BCHS, 77; Mccalin, BCHS, 79; Jordan, Frontier, 81; Schroeder, BCHS, 82; Jones, Ridgeview, 84; Romero, North, 89; Kent, Bakersfield, 93