Jackson Lake’s already impressive workout routine went into hyperdrive after missing the cut out of the Central Section golf championships last season.
The Clovis High senior who’s headed to Oregon State on an academic and golf scholarship began working out at 5 a.m. while keeping up with his studies (he’s a valedictorian) and his busy golf schedule.
It paid off on Monday as Lake won the section individual title with a 5-under-par 66 at River Island Country Club near Porterville, helping lead the Cougars to a runner-up team finish behind Clovis North. The Broncos, led by 68s from Aiden Tran and Chase Markarian, won the team title with a season-best score of 358 for the Tri-River Athletic Conference and North Area champions.
Both of those teams advance to the Southern California Regional Championships on May 23 at Brookside Golf Course in Pasadena.
For Lake, the day began really well with five birdies and a par and he coasted to the title.
“Right away when I saw I was 5-under through my first six holes, at that point I was so far down underneath it it was just smooth sailing from there,” Lake said.
The section individual title adds to an already long list of accolades for Lake, who is a four-time all-league golfer, a two-time league golfer of the year and had averaged 69.8 during league tournaments this season. Lake won the North Area title last week with a 3-under 69 at Riverside Golf Course before making a trip to the desert for a shot with the professionals, playing in a U.S. Open qualifier in Palm Desert. He missed the cut there by one shot, Clovis coach Fred Avila said.
“Everything he gets, he works for,” Avila said. “He gets up at 5 a.m. and goes to the gym everyday. He is a very special young man. He’s everything you could ever ask for in a young man.”
Lake said, “This means a lot because this is my first time winning this tournament. It’s always a good field and it’s a redemption from last year because I didn’t make it through.”
Clovis North on plan
For Clovis North third-year coach Jed Noonkester, the team title for the Broncos is part of a five-year plan that started when he was the coach at Granite Ridge Intermediate when the top five of the six players were in middle school with him.
“It’s pretty special because this is my fifth year with this group,” Noonkester said. “They were undefeated at Granite Ridge.”
All five of the juniors for Clovis North all shot at least a 78, including Andrew Lee shooting a 1-over 72 and Austin Tran shooting a 73 while Markarian led that class of juniors for the Broncos with his 68.
This is the second section title in school history and the first since 2016.
Freshman Aiden Tran broke Blake Heathcoat’s individual program record, Noonkester said, with a 63 at Riverside in the first match of the season.
“It’s so great. These guys have been battling all year,” Noonkester said. “If you were to look at our scores at the beginning of the round (Monday), the middle of the round and at the end, we battle back and never stopped.”
Seven other locals advanced to the SoCal Regional as individuals, led by 1-under 70s by Buchanans’s Garrett Boe and Central Valley Christian’s Brian Stark.
Central Section Boys Golf Championships At River Island Country Club, Porterville, Par 71
Top-2 teams and top 12 individuals not on top-2 teams advance 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
BUCHANAN (390): Boe 70, Bettencourt 73, Chiarito 79, Hartman 81, Bergstom 87, Ashman 88
LIBERTY-BAKERSFIELD (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, Central Valley Christian, 70; Avritt, Arroyo Grande, 70; Ochoa, Liberty-Bakersfield; Kuest, Clovis West, 71; Perry, San Luis Obispo 71; Takeuchi, Clovis West, 72; G. Mouser, Bullard, 72; Duncan, Liberty, 73; Hughes, Liberty, 73; Bettencourt, Buchanan, 73; Miller, Clovis West, 73.