San Marcos High’s Leo Metzger got to play only two weeks of his freshman golf season this spring before the COVID-19 pandemic took him off course.
He made up for lost time this week, however, by finishing second on Friday to a UCSB-bound recruit in the Championship Boys Division of the 45th annual Titleist Match Play Championship at the Buenaventura Golf Course.
Metzger, who won the boys 11-to-14 age division in this same event last year, advanced to the final before losing to recent Milken Schools graduate Griffin Feldman, of Encino.
The four-day tournament was the first of five events on this year’s Ventura County Junior Golf Association Tour and Mini-Tour schedule.
Metzger, who tied for seventh in Tuesday’s qualifying round with a two-over-par 72, won four matches to advance to the final. He opened match play with a resounding win over Carson Diaz of Porter ranch, up five holes with four to go. He then defeated Nick Siegel-Ravo of Calabasas, 4 & 2.
He routed Nickolas Waldock of Westlake Village 7 & 6 in the quarterfinals before earning his spot in the championship match with a 2 & 1 victory over Sanad Safadi of Thousand Oaks.
Callaway Winans, who will be a senior this year at Santa Ynez High, also had a long run in the boys championship division after tying for 12th in the qualifying round with a 73.
Winans advanced to the semifinals with match-play wins of 5 & 4 over Gavin Jennings of Calabasas, 1-up over Giancarlo Sacco of Bakersfield, and 2 & 1 over Ricky Reisner of Valencia.
Feldman defeated Winans 3 & 2 to advance to the championship match against Metzger.
Santa Barbara High’s Hudson Hatton also competed in the boys championship division, tying for 22nd in the qualifying round with a 77. He defeated Ethan Alpert of Westlake Village 1-up in the first round of match play but lost in the second round to Safadi, 2 & 1.
Lizzie Goss, also of Santa Barbara High, was the second-leading qualifier in the girls championship division. She shot a 71 to finish just two strokes behind top qualifier Lindsay Yao of Whittier.
Goss was eliminated in the quarterfinals of match play, 3 & 1, by Simi Valley’s Ashley Zook. Yao beat Zook for the title on Friday.
Aoife Braverman, Goss’ Santa Barbara High teammate, placed 12th in the qualifying round with a 90.
Jeffrey Foster of Santa Barbara also just missed the top-eight cut in the boys 11-to-14 division, shooting an 83 to tie for 10th.
Next up on the VCJGA calendar is the 53rd annual Founder’s Cup at Camarillo’s Las Posas Country Club on July 27.
Future events are the TaylorMade Tour Championship at Ojai’s Soule Park on Aug. 8-9, the 46th annual Ventura City Junior Championships by Play-I at Ventura’s Olivas Links on Sept. 12-13, and the Santa Barbara County Junior Championships at Solvang’s Alisal River Course on Oct. 10-11.