The Coast News Group
San Diego junior golfers win Western Cup
Team San Diego hoists their U.S. Kids Golf Western Cup championship trophies on Jan. 16 at Primm Valley Golf Club. Photo courtesy of U.S. Kids Golf
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San Diego junior golf team wins Western Cup championship

REGION — A group of 18 junior golfers from across San Diego County rallied from behind to win the U.S. Kids Golf Western Cup on Jan. 16 at Primm Valley Golf Club in Nipton, California.

After finishing the opening day tied for fourth place, Team San Diego, consisting of nine, two-player teams of boys and girls aged 9 to 14, rebounded on Day 2 to finish six strokes ahead of Orange County, winning the Western Cup for the first time since the tournament began in 2017.

The two-day shamble best ball golf tournament featured 144 players from eight local tours across the West Coast. Players who won their respective Fall Local Tour championships were automatically invited to compete in the Western Cup.

Partners Jack Robin, of Encinitas, and Mason Sacco, of San Diego, both nine-year-olds, shot a tournament-low of 129 for their age group, which was highlighted by an eagle putt. For the 10-year-old boys’ group, Kai Molina, of Carmel Valley, and Chula Vista’s Lucan Pollack also shot 129, tied for a tournament best with Los Angeles’ teammates Nathan Lee and Samuel Zhao.

San Diego’s Jinjutha Maneerat, 12, and partner Myla Robinson shot the second-best, two-day combined score among the girls, finishing with a 124.

U.S. Kids Golf currently runs about 1600 local events and 12 regional championships, according to Jay Scott, a director at U.S. Kids Golf, and the Western Cup is a reward for the top players on each local tour.

“Kids really love playing team events and that’s what it’s all about,” Scott told The Coast News. “(The Western Cup) has been a successful model for us.”

Final results for Team San Diego’s two-player groupings:

Boys 9:  Mason Sacco and Jack Robin (129); Lucas Chen and Ethan Yu (141)

Boys 10: Kai Molina and Lucas Pollack (129)

Boys 11: Fernando Salgado and Nawaphat Maneerat (130); Owen Nawata and Russell Yeh (138)

Boys 13-14: Jake Hirose and Shawn Nawata (131); Noah Hitomi and Nicholas Tumminello (133)

Girls 9-10: Emma Wang and Lillian Phee (135)

Girls 11-12: Jinjutha Maneerat and Myla Robinson (124)