Not only did Wilson senior Tyler Schafer win his third consecutive Moore League boys’ golf individual tournament on Thursday at El Dorado Golf Course, he did it with a record-setting 15-under par performance thanks to a birdie on the final hole.
“I wanted to have that record,” Schafer said. “It meant a lot to me. For it to be on the last hole is even better. To have the record by myself is another level.”
Schafer shot a 66 in the third round at Skylinks Golf Course on Wednesday to move to 14-under par for the tournament, and put himself in position to make history.
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“He talked at the beginning of the season about wanting to set records,” Wilson coach Jeff Evans said. “He was obviously up for the challenge. He had a really solid and steady approach, which is typical Tyler Schafer. He’s calm, cool and collected.”
Schafer broke Lakewood’s James Oh record 14-under par that was set in 1999, and he’s the fifth player to win three Moore League individual crowns. Wilson’s Paul Goydos (1980-82), Millikan’s Joe Epson (1984-86), Millikan’s Darren Hamilton (1991-93) and Poly’s Eric Frazzetta (2006-08) are the others.
“I started the tournament kind of slow and I wasn’t making a lot of putts,” Schafer said.”But I kept grinding. My mom (Jane) told me, ‘if you can’t buy a putt, just steal it’ and I just kept that in the back of my mind. Eventually, if you hit enough greens, you’re going to get one to drop here and there.”
That’s exactly what happened on the 18th hole. Schafer had two birdies earlier in the round that landed him on 14-under par for the majority of the back nine. He came to the final hole, a par 5 that is reachable in two, with the same score. His drive was perfect, and he place his second shot pin high on the left apron. Schafer rolled a chip within five feet, and sunk the record-breaking birdie putt.
“He put himself in a great spot,” Evans said. “When you’re playing for something like that, there’s not straightforward up and down for par. But he did it like he’s done countless times before.”
“All three (tournament titles) mean just as much to me,” Schafer said. “I’ve improved a lot. I have a lot more confidence in myself, and that’s a huge key in golf. You’re going to go through your ups and downs. It’s just about who can get out of the slumps better.”
Schafer will be joined by Wilson teammates Tyler Allen, Andre Calubid, Samin Bhagat, Brandon Bennett and Jon Gough in the CIF Southern individual regional tournament on Monday at Skylinks. Millikan’s M.J. DelaCruz and Poly’s Jacob Betts also qualified.
“We continue to get the talent, and there’s a respect for our program in the community,” Evans said. “It means a whole lot to us. It’s something special to say you played for Wilson golf.”
“I’ve made memories I will never forget,” Schafer said of playing with a group of teammates in the final round. “It was really fun, we had a lot of laughs. I got to see how well they play, and I love seeing my teammates play well. It means a lot, because going into CIF I feel like we have a good chance of winning it again.”
Wilson is trying to three-peat as a CIF Southern champion, and will face the other qualifiers at Mile Square on May 14.