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An old school approach

Jay Lim, La CaƱada High's most dominant golfer this year, didn't let his success get in the way of him being a team player.

July 06, 2011|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com
(Tim Berger Staff…)

Richard Tetu has learned in his near-decade of coaching high school golf that the best golfers are usually rather self-centered. That was far from the case with his star golfer at La Cañada High this year, Jay Lim.

"Separating [Lim] from other golfers I've had in the past is that he's a team player," Tetu said. "A lot of good golfers in high school are really into themselves. …It's unusual to have a high school golfer that's invested in the team first, and he is. He carried us."

More than a few times this year, Tetu tried to give Lim, a senior, a day off in matches where the team probably wouldn't need his scoring. Lim wasn't interested.

"He wanted to play," Tetu said. "He played every match, except a few when he was on some college trips."

That's not all that makes Lim a unique golfer. The most noticeable thing is his swing.

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"Most golfers have an athletic stance and Jay is kind of hunched over like the old-school golfer guys," said Tetu, adding it's something he'd never seen from one of his high school golfers before. "He has a short back swing and it's very different looking. You could compare him to guys in the 50s in the 60s."

Lim's odd swing came out of his personal golf lessons years ago. His instructor didn't look to mold his swing any particular way, just telling him to go with what felt comfortable. The unconventional swing played right into Lim's conservative style and his success in his senior season this year.

"I usually just aim for the middle of the fairway and play smart, I don't get too aggressive on the golf course," said Lim, adding that he isn't afraid to take risks when he has to. "I know when I need birdies. I know when I need to execute, but hitting fairways is key to my game."

Lim's swing and concern for the team didn't get in the way of him excelling on the links individually, as Lim finished the year with a 70 scoring average, was named the Rio Hondo League Most Valuable Player and advanced all the way to the Southern California Regional Final, missing the cut for CIF State Championship by one stroke.

The performance Lim put together outshined the rest of a talented group of area golfers this year and, in turn, earned him the title of the 2011 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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