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No sophomore slump for La Cañada High boys' golfer Collin Morikawa

Spartans statistical leader improves on phenomenal freshman campaign by advancing in CIF Individual campaign.

July 12, 2013|By Charles Rich, charles.rich@latimes.com
  • La Cañada High's Collin Morikawa is the 2013 All-Area Boys' Golfer of the Year.
La Cañada High's Collin Morikawa is the… (Raul Roa/Staff…)

After working to earn his stripes following a stellar freshman season, Collin Morikawa didn’t want any red flags popping up during his sophomore campaign.

Taking a step back wasn’t an option for Morikawa, a member of the talented La Cañada High boys’ golf team. Unfortunately for Morikawa, he hit a rare rut March 21 during a Rio Hondo League match at La Cañada Country Club, where he finished with a five-over-par 39.

Looking to avoid digging a deeper hole, Morikawa quickly went back to work on different parts of his game and never came close to repeating what took place March 21.

“That was a wake-up call for me,” Morikawa said. “I couldn’t continue to play like that if I wanted to go out there and achieve my goals I set before the season began.

“I knew I made some mistakes in that round, but they were mistakes that I knew I could fix. I learned from that round that there’s always something you can work on in your game.”

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Morikawa made the corrections and there was no looking back. He zoomed ahead and helped La Cañada win its ninth Rio Hondo League championship in a row and then promptly captured his second straight league individual championship before enjoying another banner postseason run that saw him nearly advance to the state tournament in Carmel.

Morikawa did everything within his power this season to elevate his concentration level and dazzle on courses around Southern California.

“I’m happy with the season I had, and I set my standards high,” said Morikawa, who was named the All-Area Boys’ Golfer of the Year for the second straight season by the sports editors and writers of the Burbank Leader, Glendale News-Press, La Cañada Valley Sun and Pasadena Sun. “I think my entire game started to come around in the middle of league. That’s when I started to see better results.”

It showed. In 17 matches this season, Morikawa earned a team-best 10 medalist honors.

Morikawa’s short game rarely deserted him. He relied on it heavily throughout, ultimately carrying him to the CIF/Southern California Golf Assn. Qualifier at Brookside Golf Course in Pasadena.

La Cañada Coach Richard Tetu said Morikawa turned things around nicely following the Temple City match.

“He was very consistent the rest of the way through,” Tetu said. “You could see him take it upon himself to keep getting better.

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