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Lancer continues school’s tradition of golf excellence

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East Union's Kyle Harman is the Manteca Bulletin's 2009 All-Area Boys Golf Player of the Year.

JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin


POSTED June 22, 2009 12:54 a.m.
On April 27, baby-faced Kyle Harman became the man.

Harman met his chief personal goal for the season in the Valley Oak League Championships at Lockeford Springs Golf Course in Lodi that day, earning the conference’s Most Valuable Player honor after outdueling Oakdale’s Austin Whitworth.

It was a winner-take-all for both, and both recorded the lowest score with one-over 73s. Harman won the tiebreaker, total strokes over the last three holes, to take home his coveted prize.

The East Union High junior was the third straight Lancer to become MVP, following former teammates Jay Brink (2007) and John Ott (2008).

“I’ve been in the situation before where it came down to me and one other person, and that was the first time that I actually came through,” Harman said. “It was fun being out there and competing with somebody in the same group as me. It made accomplishing that a lot more (gratifying).”

After sharing the honor with Ott last year, Harman is the Bulletin’s outright Golfer of the Year, headlining arguably the deepest and most talented field of golfers from the area.

Harman’s ultimate goal was to simply dominate in league to the point to where there was no competition. But he found out quickly that there was. He won 10 of 14 league dual matches, with his chief rivals coming from Whitworth of Oakdale, Barrett McLaughlin of Sonora and anybody from the VOL champions of Sierra.

“Austin is good, and I couldn’t do anything about that,” Harman said. “But I did what I wanted to do —get MVP.”

Harman was, for the second straight season, the last man standing from the area by advancing to the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament. Gusty 30-40 mph winds made the long and challenging course at The Reserve in Stockton even longer and more challenging, as he ended the season with a disappointing 15-over 87.

Harman qualified by taking third with a 79 and winning a playoff hole in the section’s Division IV tournament at Catta Verdera Country Club in Lincoln.

Harman’s goals next year are to make it to the NorCal Regional and California Interscholastic Federation/California Golf Association championships and perhaps win a few tournaments along the way.

“I was hoping to make it to state, but it didn’t happen again at Masters for some reason,” he said. “I have one more year, so hopefully I can get there.”

And this time, he hopes to take the rest of the Lancers with him.

While he achieved personal glory this past season, he wants to East Union to regain VOL throne, where it reigned in 2007 and 08.

Much like Brink was to him his freshman year, Harman is taking on more of a leadership role going into his senior year.

“There’s more pressure and more responsibility,” he said. “It’s going to be tough to even follow Jay Brink from the standpoint of how he led the team.”

It has already begun.

Though East Union didn’t qualify to the divisional tournament as a full team, four did individually. And all four, including Tanner Bragg, Guillermo Barajas and Jordan Duvall, are coming back. Rounding out the group will be Brink’s brother, Will, an ultra-talented incoming freshman.

“He’s already shooting in the high 30s (on nine holes) consistently,” Harman said of Will Brink. “We have everybody coming back, and the other guys are out there every day with me this summer.

“Next year we want to make NorCals as a team, which can definitely happen. We’re just looking to dominate the VOL and go from there.”
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