By Ed PiperSenior Perry Cohen of La Jolla High, who historically plays some of his best golf in the City Conference Tournament, carded a 71 last week to finish as low man and medalist in the 2014 edition of the tournament.
The Vikings sport a strong team, from No. 1 to No. 6, and have high hopes for the CIF Section team championship May 27-29 at Admiral Baker Golf Course off Friars Road near the I-15.
“Our team has the best chance of winning CIF this year,” said Cohen, who signed a letter of intent with St. Mary’s College, a Division I program, on national signing day this spring. “We put a lot more effort into seeing who our fifth and sixth players would be this year, to make sure we have a solid team as a whole.”
Cohen’s cohorts include fellow senior and friend Ben Doyle, who won the CIF individual title last year. Doyle committed to Cal Berkeley’s Division I program, sitting alongside Cohen on signing day at the Hall of Champions in Balboa Park.
Filling out the top six on Head Coach Don Hildre’s squad, after Doyle as No. 1 and Cohen as No. 2, are seniors Joey Varnam and Ben Leibowitz, freshman Kevin Wan and sophomore Jarid Morrison.
Doyle said of the mental part of his game: “I have tried to keep as calm as possible coming down to the last few holes of tournaments. I know how good my game is right now, and I feel like having a high confidence level is the most important thing for me right now.”
People might look at his CIF championship last year and say it all comes easily for him. Doyle’s rejoinder: “I go through ups and downs all the time. It’s part of the game. But right now, I feel I have the confidence to know that any rough patch I’m going through will be over quickly.”
Coach Hildre said, “I feel that if my boys put it all together, we can win the CIF title. My top four have been pretty consistent in play. It’s an individual sport, but they play as a team, so I’ve emphasized what will help the betterment of the team. We focused on (playing spots) numbers five and six, not on league. We probably lost one or two league matches that we could have won ...
“I was big on course management this year — that can kill a team if a player gets a big score. But if you can shave off one or two strokes, it can help the team strength from top to bottom.”
Teammates help one another with choosing which club to use and reading putts, Cohen said, “But, typically, I am very much in my own world when hitting a ball, so I do not get distracted by much.”