After what could be called one of the best four-year careers in the history of Yosemite High School boys golf, the Fresno Bee has named YHS's Kevin Lauterbach Central Valley Golfer of the Year.
According to Bee sports writer Andy Boogaard, it is the first time since the Bee started naming golf all-stars in 2009, that a small school player was selected as the Player of the Year.
The 6-foot, 155-pounder led the Badgers to four North Sequoia League Championships and was named the NSL's Most Valuable Player three straight years. He was also a four-year NSL Scholar-Athlete.
During his senior year, his play continued to improve week-after-week, and by the last three tournaments of the season, he was playing the best golf of his life.
Lauterbach won the May 5 North Area Tournament at Riverside Country Club with a one under par 71.
He went on to place second at the CIF Central Section Championships at Riverbend May 20 with a par 72. He was tied for first at the end of regulation play (18 holes) and lost in the first play-off hole to Blake Borles.
That finish qualified him for the June 2 Southern Regional Men's Golf Championship in Pasadena at Brookside Country Club. Out of 124 golfers from Fresno to San Diego, Lauterbach finished regulation play tied with six players who were playing for the last five spots to advance to the June 4 CIF State Championship Tournament.
Once again, it wasn't to be for Lauterbach, as he was edged by one stroke, missing the opportunity to be in the 24-man field in the state tournament at the San Gabriel County Club.
"It was a big disappointment to miss the state tournament," Lauterbach said. "I played a good round and was so close. I gave myself a good chance to make it, and just missed by a stroke."
Badger Coach Reg Turner said Lauterbach is the best high school golfer he has ever coached.
"Kevin played very well at the Regional Tournament," Turner said. "He played super steady golf good enough to play with anyone, it just did not happen. Kevin should be very happy to finish as well as he did, but it was disappointing for all of us because he could have won it all. He has that kind of ability."
Lauterbach, who played in 15 tournaments last summer throughout Northern California, said the biggest improvement in his game this year came, not from the mechanics of the game, but from his much improved mental toughness and confidence.
"I was able to 'grind' through my rounds of golf this year and not let bad shots disrupt my game," Lauterbach said. "I made a lot fewer mistakes this year."
Lauterbach will play for Reedley Community College in the fall. His plan is to play well enough to gain the attention of coaches at either San Diego State or UC Santa Barbara, and receive a golf scholarship.
He is the son of Glen and Karen Lauterbach of Oakhurst.