Paced by a 4-under 31 from junior Sam Higaki, the Dons celebrated an epic 183-237 win over San Mateo at Poplar Creek Golf Course. It was the lowest team score for Aragon in generations, and the best in the tenure of longtime Coach Guy Oling.
“One of the best at least in the last 20 years or so,” Oling said.
Higaki explained how the weather affected Aragon’s outstanding showing. It wasn’t so much the temperature, he said, as it was the lack of wind at the Dons’ notoriously gusty home course.
“I think the conditions played a lot,” Higaki said. “Normally afternoon gets really windy, and it was just a light breeze yesterday, so everything was playing to the numbers.”
Higaki’s 4-under was the first time they have accomplished the feat on the varsity circuit. Last November during a club tournament with the Peninsula Country Club, Higaki played an epic round of 18 holes at the Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, where he shot a 6-under, but was sitting at 4-under after playing the front nine .
It seemed unlikely Higaki could match the 4-under Thursday, seeing as he was sitting at the 2-under heading into the 9th hole. The junior connected off the road with his driver to place it right in the middle of the Fairway 181 yards from the cup. He followed that with a 6-iron to knock it onto the green 10 yards from the cup.
“His Irons were spot-on,” Oling said.
Higaki’s chance for eagle was in the hole. While is known for his stoic approach in pressure situations, that doesn’t mean he didn’t know what the Stakes were as he stepped to the ball to attempt what would be his final putt of the afternoon.
“Over the putt, I just treated it like any other putt,” Higaki said. “But knowing it’s for a good score, there was a little extra added pressure.”
Even with most all six Aragon cards containing impressive scores, Higaki finished well ahead of the pack to earn medalist honors. Aragon sophomore Lequan Wang shot a 1-under 34, sophomore Noah Finberg tallied a 37 and Isaiah Lott scored a 39. All four of those scores bettered San Mateo’s top performer, Oscar Morganstern, who shot a 41.
“Sam has been consistent,” Oling said. “He’s a focused player. He’s familiar with the course and just plays smart golf. ”
Finberg was a pleasant surprise for Aragon, as the sophomore hasn’t been a regular part of the rotation. Thursday marked the best performance of his varsity career.
“He played a really good round,” Higaki said. “Probably one of the better rounds I’ve seen him play.”
Alex Kao and Ethan Gilmartin rounded out Aragon’s scorecard, each shooing a 42l
“I think everyone performed really well,” Higaki said. “I think at the end of the day, we were all really happy with how we shot.”
It was the third time this season first-place Aragon – undefeated in the Peninsula Athletic League Bay Division dual meets – has finished at 190 or better as a team. The Dons’ previous team-high was an 189-237 win over Menlo-Atherton on March 22 at Poplar Creek.