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Burbank sophomore drives to win

BOYS' GOLF: Matt Kurihara bests field and finishes with an even-par 71 to capture annual invitational at De Bell.

March 31, 2007|By Charles Rich

BURBANK — Even on their spring break, the Burroughs and Burbank high boys' golf teams couldn't escape Pacific League foes Crescenta Valley and Glendale.

The Falcons and Nitros also dealt with an unexpected showing from Burbank athlete Matt Kurihara, who carded an even-par 71 to win the A Flight competition of the Burbank High Schools' Invitational on Wednesday at De Bell Municipal Golf Course.

Kurihara, a sophomore, received congratulations from many of the 83 competitors who took part in the 44th installment of the event — one of the longest running tournaments in Southern California.

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It might go down as one of the more memorable spring breaks for Kurihara, who fought off the windy conditions to top La Cañada's Ross Thomson by one stroke.

"I'm pleased with the score," said Kurihara, whose team finished 15th (368) and plays its home matches on the 5,631-yard course overlooking Burbank. "Getting an even par on any course is great, especially with the windy conditions and me being freezing when we got started.

"I tried not to think about [the weather conditions] and just do the best I could. I made a lot of clutch putts, and with the way the greens were, some of it was luck."

Burbank and Burroughs joined the Pacific League this season after competing for years in the Foothill League.

Crescenta Valley saw its bid to win the tournament, which featured 15 teams, for the fourth time since 2000 fall just short. The Falcons, who won the tournament in 2000, 2003 and 2004, finished third with a 314.

La Cañada won the tournament (304) and Agoura placed second (309).

Crescenta Valley Coach John Pehar said the Falcons, who have captured two consecutive league championships, couldn't adjust to the conditions.

"One of our players had a bad day and the weather had an influence," said Pehar, who got a 74 from John Huh and a 75 from Dominic Lingua. "Apparently, they didn't adjust to it.

"There was a little frustration and the shots just did not happen. They scored well enough, but I would have liked to have been first."

A second Crescenta Valley team took sixth (327).

Burroughs junior Chase Dontanville tied La Cañada's Anton Arboleda with a 74. However, Dontanville won in a card off because he had a lower mark on the par-four first hole.

Dontanville navigated the tricky greens to finish with five birdies.

"It was basically the greens and the fact that they didn't cut them," said Dontanville, who birdied the 10th and 11th holes. "So, I left things short because I didn't trust the greens."

One of Burroughs' teams finished seventh (332) and a second took 19th (395).

Kevin Crawford fired a 79, Peter Romero had an 86, Troy Fleiner had a 93, Tommy Rodenhizer had a 95, T.J. Adams had a 99 and Rvyn Bryanthad a 106 for the, Indians, which won the team title in the tourney in 2005.

Jin Hie shot a 93, Shahan Krairian had a 101 and Valen Russo had a 103 for Burbank.

Glendale also competed in the tournament, as sophomore Tammy Panich carded an 86.

Since the tournament's inception in 1961 — a year was skipped in the 60s and last year's event was canceled because of rain — the tournament has provided a competitive stage for golfers. The event is sponsored by the Burbank Men's Golf Club.

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