By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN
PASADENA – For the third year in a row Strathmore’s Jeeven Larson qualified for the Southern California Regional Championship Golf Tournament at Brookside Country Club in Pasadena. This year was his best performance yet. His two over par score of 74 was 10 strokes lower than last year.
Still, Larson handled the result with mixed emotions. While happy he improved on, what had been the worst performance of his high school career on such a big stage, he was still disappointed. He missed out on a nine-man playoff for two qualifying spots for the state tournament by single stroke.
“I felt a bit of both afterwards,” Larson said. “After twelve holes I felt like I was going. It is definitely disappointing, but I still feel like I had a solid performance.”
Ultimately the result came down to putting. On two holes Larson had four foot birdie opportunities. Both of which he missed. Had Larson made those two putts he would have shot an even par, 72, which would have automatically qualified him for state. If he had made one it would have put him in a nine man playoff for two spots.
“If I had made a couple putts it would have sealed the deal,” Larson said.
Larson urges that part of his game will be a point of concentration going into his senior season. It will be his last to realize a dream of playing in the State Championship Tournament.
In this round the recent struggles Larson had with ball striking seemed to have vanished. On the rare occasion he did miss a fairway he was confident he’d save his par. His play on the par four, 18th hole was one such example.
In order to avoid flirting with out of bounds down the left hand side Larson intentionally hit to the right. His ball ended up in the 10th hole fairway which runs parallel to the hole he was on. From there he hit a six iron to the green which came up a bit short and ended up in a deep bunker. He was able to get up and down to save his par.
“Those were crucial in keeping my momentum going,” Larson said.
Larson had always been technically minded when it came to his swing. It was a feast or famine mindset. On one hand he knew every aspect of his swing was in a correct position at any given time. However, the constant analysis caused him to freeze up. The latter was the cause of much of his ball striking woes earlier in the season. Having gone through those struggles has given him a new mindset.
“I have let go of all those technical thoughts,” Larson said. “I am just swinging and using my natural body motions for power and accuracy.”
The way Larson practices has also been changed. In years past he would spend more time on the range rather than the course. After this season those have switched. The swing dynamics have never been in question at any point in Larson’s high school career. What is in question is his situational awareness. Spending more time on the course should provide more opportunity to put himself into situations he might see during tournaments next season.
I like to think of the range and the course as two different sports,” Larson said.