Jeeven Larson cards 41 as Strathmore takes second at East Sequoia League match
By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN
PORTERVILLE – Ever since Jeeven Larson first stepped foot on the Strathmore Spartans’ golf team, one thing has been on his mind, make it to the state tournament. He has come close. In each of his first two seasons, he has qualified for the SoCal Regional Championship.
Larson is undoubtedly gunning for a third straight trip down south. He is also the main reason why the Spartans have a chance at a three-peat as Division III Valley champs.
“I have been a part of this process for a couple of years now, so I am pretty comfortable with it,” Larson said.
On Monday, April 16, Strathmore took part in an East Sequoia League match at River Island. After raining all morning, the conditions of the course were not ideal, and the match was shortened to nine holes. Still, the Spartans shot a combined 254 which put them in second place, four strokes behind Granite Hills and Sierra Pacific who tied for the win at 250. Larson carded a five over par with 41.
“I am happy with it, being the conditions what they were. But on a normal day, he is going to shoot even par,” Strathmore head coach Eddie Green.
Larson got off to a lumber’s start. He hit a tree on either his tee or seconds on each of the first four holes. Beginning the round on the par-four second hole, he pushed his tee shot wide to the right. He caught a lucky break when the ball hit a branch, and bounced out into the middle of the fairway. In prime position to take advantage of the good luck, Larson could not. Instead, he hit a foot behind the ball on his approach, and left it 10 yards short of the green. He recovered nicely, and a chip-and put later he was able to save par.
While Larson recovered from the first hit tree, he paid the price on the second. Once again his tee shot off the par-five third hole went right. The ball ended up closer the fairway of the sixth hole. Faced with the task of navigating four trees he hit the ball low back toward the fairway. He got past three, but his shot rose too high for the fourth, hitting it into the lower branches. The ball did not come down.
This resulted in Larson’s having to hit a provisional ball, and when his original was not found he was penalized a stroke. From there it took him four shots to get down for his double-bogey.
A right shot off the tee was something Larson fought during the opening holes. Subsequent hits to trees on the fourth and fifth holes restricted him from making up any of his dropped shots. Larson did not have a birdie on his card.
“I felt like it was a mediocre score,” Larson said. “The course was in excellent shape.”
The Spartans’ third player in the match, Lucas Wilkinson, carded a 47. Green is already planning to move him up to number two player on the team.
“He makes some mistakes, but he recovers from those nicely,” Green said.
This coming Monday, the Spartans will take to the links again for their final regular season league tournament. It will be held at Kings Country Club in Hanford. Tee off is scheduled for 11 a.m.
Strathmore’s shot at an ESL title may be out of range due to third place finishes in tournaments before this one. Green is still confident. If his players keep on improving, a valley title is not out of the question.
For Larson, it will come down to how he has been practicing. In order to prepare for upcoming tournaments, he has made the decision to spend more time playing. It will allow him to put himself into more tournament-like situations.