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Harman bounces back from injury, places second
Kyle Harman of Manteca played his first tournament Monday and Tuesday since suffering an injury a month ago and took second in the San Joaquin Valley Junior Invitational in Fresno. - photo by Bulletin file photo
Kyle Harman, ever the perfectionist, wasn’t exactly thrilled.

He wasn’t thoroughly disappointed either.

Coming off a month-long hiatus from golf because of a groin injury, the soon-to-be East Union High senior took second in the San Joaquin Valley Junior Invitational in Fresno Monday and Tuesday.

Harman finished the tournament 13-over par (79-76-155) at, just two strokes shy of the leader, D.J. Stone at San Joaquin Country Club, where Fresno State’s men’s and women’s golf teams call home.

A familiar face in Oakdale High’s Austin Whitworth, who challenged Harman for the Valley Oak League’s Most Valuable Player honor this past spring, also competed. Whitworth finished in a seventh-place tie.

“(Placing) first would have been better, but it was weird how everything played out,” Harman said. “Everybody didn’t play to their potential which made the scores tighter. But I’m working my way back, so I can’t complain.”

Harman is a part of the Junior Golf Association of Northern California, and he suffered the groin injury during a JGANC tournament a month ago.

“I swung too hard on one of my drives on the front nine and started to feel it once I got to the green,” he said. “By the 15th fairway I was pretty much crawling toward the green. It just wasn’t happening, so I had to drop out.

“I can’t be too mad about how I did in Fresno. I wasn’t in shape, and I have to look at it like that. I’m off to a good start and I’m hoping to get a few wins by the end of the summer.”

Harman hopes to participate in at least seven more JGANC events and will return to action next Monday in Oakdale.

The 18- and 36-hole marathons are Harman’s preferred pace as opposed to the nine-hole sprints during the high school season.

Harman felt he had an up-and-down regular season in VOL play, in which he won 10 of 14 dual matches, before edging out Whitworth by a tiebreaker in the league tournament at Lockeford Springs Golf Course in Lodi.

He went on to take third in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV Tournament at Catta Verdera Country Club in Lincoln and ended his season at the Masters Tournament. Harman was named the Bulletin’s Golfer of the Year for the second straight season.

“It’s definitely a big change going from nine to 18,” Harman said. “You definitely have to be a lot more focused. Every time I go out there I take it nine holes at a time, so no matter what happens on the first nine I just start over and try to play well on the back nine.”