Missing their number one player, the South Pasadena Boys Golf Team teed off Tuesday afternoon at Almansor Golf Course looking to take down league rival San Marino.
The Tigers were, officially, the visitors, but since South Pas also calls Almansor its home course, it may as well have been a neutral site competition. Neither team, however, could have prepared for the greens they putted on Tuesday afternoon.
Sanded and aerated, the typically smooth, green putting surfaces were brown and bumpy. As a result, the routine two-putt threatened to be a bit more nerve wracking. Fortunately for the players, a three-putt rule was established before the beginning of the round. It was frequently utilized.
Playing number one for South Pasadena Tuesday was freshman Justin Toshima, who entered the match with a 40 stroke per nine hole scoring average. Technically, Toshima has a near-perfect golf swing, rhythmic and free-flowing while still generating high speed at impact.
His coach, former longtime varsity football coach Ed Smith, said he has been impressed most of all by the freshman’s work ethic.
“He’s out here all the time, working on his game, every day it seems,” Smith said.
The fourth-year coach knows it will be tough for his team to qualify for team-CIF competition, so he is preparing his top players for what he thinks could be an exciting individual postseason run.
Smith believes junior Josh Ramos, in particular, can compete with the top talent in Southern California. Last year, Ramos finished second overall in Rio Hondo League Finals. The first place finisher, who graduated from San Marino High School, is now playing at Claremont McKenna College in Pomona. Smith’s takeaway: Ramos is just beginning his golfing career.
“Josh is tall and lanky, and he can really rip it,” Smith said Tuesday afternoon. “He is averaging 35.5 [strokes per nine holes] so far this year.”
Like Toshima, Smith said, Ramos is on the course grinding every day.
South Pas takes on La Cañada away on Tuesday. The Spartans are the favorites to win league.