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Living the dream

Following a fine season, which included a league championship, La CaƱada's Arboleda will take his game to the collegiate level at UCLA

July 06, 2010|By Andrew Shortall, andrewshortall@latimes.com
(Raul Roa / The Leader )

Anton Arboleda grabbed his driver, removing the head cover, a bear surrounded by blue and gold — the mascot, colors and insignia of the UCLA Bruins.

It's Arboleda's skill with a driver, and all the other clubs in his golf bag, which has helped him land a spot at his dream school, UCLA, on a partial golf scholarship. In the fall, he will begin classes in Westwood, only months after graduating from La Cañada High, where he made a name for himself in the sport.

The 17-year old Arboleda started honing his prowess with a club when he was just 3, going out to the driving range with his dad, Antonio. Over the past 14 years, the senior Arboleda hasn't played golf much himself, focusing instead on helping his son's game.

"My dad has pretty much been my coach throughout my whole career," Anton Arboleda said. "He has been there and helped me with anything."

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Golf didn't become Arboleda's No. 1 sport until he won a junior practice tournament when he was 12. After that he was hooked, and hungry after getting his first taste of victory. After the tournament, his dad suggested he choose one sport to focus on in high school.

Arboleda chose golf because it offered something most other sports don't.

"Golf is such an individual sport," he said. "That is probably the best, and worst thing, about it. You're not dependent on anyone else winning or losing the game for you. In golf, you don't win as much as you do in basketball or baseball, but when you do it's a lot sweeter."

Many golfers don't experience the thrill of victory on a regular basis like Arboleda has. Perhaps he is the exception to his own rule.

This year, he has assembled an impressive list of achievements.

During his senior season with the Spartans, he had an 18-hole scoring average of 69 and went on to be named Rio Hondo's Most Valuable Golfer after capturing the league's individual championship. In addition, he won the Glendora High School Invitational championship and finished 17th out of 123 players in the CIF Southern California Golf Assn. High School Championship, missing the cut for the CIF State Championship by just two shots.

It is because of Arboleda's resume this past season that he has been named the 2010 All-Area Boys' Golfer of the Year by the sports editors and writers of the Burbank Leader, Glendale News-Press and La Cañada Valley Sun.

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