The successful season of the county’s sole high school golfer to qualify for the CIF-Southern Section individual finals came to an end Monday.
Arroyo Grande High senior Mitch Martin shot 8-over-par 80 at La Purisima Golf Course in Lompoc — three strokes off the cut.
“It was a tough day,” Arroyo Grande coach Jeff Byars said. “That course always plays tough. But it takes nothing away from his year. Mitch had a great year. It was just one of those days where he didn’t get a break.”
Martin, who has signed to play at Cal Poly, was two strokes away from a chance at a playoff to qualify. Three golfers from a group of 12 with scores of 78 qualified.
The 28 players who made the cut advanced to the CIF/SCGA SoCal Regional Championship at Brookside Golf Club in Pasadena. Only five shot under par.
Martin led his Eagles team to its first PAC 7 championship since 1995 this season and the CIF-Southern Section Central Coast title.
“We had a team effort, but we wouldn’t have been where we were without him,” Byars said. “We hopped on his shoulders and let him take us around.”
Martin shot 2-over 74 at the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division regional to qualify for the final.
Byars said Martin’s misfortune included having some shots land in bunkers, and his coach said he never got into a rhythm with a good stretch of holes.
But the senior who will play in U.S. amateur tournaments this summer to prepare for his career as a Mustang has a bright future, Byars said.
“Our goal is to have a kid keep getting better,” Byars said. “The fact that he’s good enough to go on and play in college, that’s great. He has his best years ahead of him. I really think that’s true and not just a cliché.”