Corona del Mar boys golf claims CIF-SS Division 1 title after winner Palm Desert forfeits

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Orange County boys golf appeared to produce three runner-up finishes across the seven divisions at the CIF-SS team championships on Monday.

Corona del Mar (Division 1), Cypress (Division 3) and Fairmont Prep (Division 6) each placed second in their respective divisions.

But on Tuesday, the showing got even better after a rule violation by one of the winning teams.

The Southern Section announced that Division 1 champion Palm Desert forfeited the Division 1 title after self-reporting a violation, elevating Corona del Mar to champion.

In the announcement, the section cited its bylaw prohibiting practices and games on Sunday and along with a portion of the playoff bulletin that bars teams from receiving any type of instruction from a coach on Sunday.

Palm Desert reportedly practiced at Western Hills Country Club in Chino Hills on Sunday, and according to the section, self-reported the violation.

Palm Desert shot an 8-over-par 368 to edge Corona del Mar by two shots.

“Crazy,” veteran Sea Kings golf coach Mike Starkweather said Wednesday of earning the title via forfeit. “This is the best team that Corona del Mar has ever had. We’ve worked really, really hard to win it. I know the team is deserving to win.

“It’s bittersweet it happened this way but … it’s out of our hands.”

Senior Heman Liang shot a 3-under par 69 on Monday and freshman James Leehealey added a 70 to pace Corona del Mar, the Division 1 runner-up in 2021.

The Sea Kings’ squad also features standout wide receiver John Tipton, who carded a 74 as the Sea Kings’ No. 3 player.

“Very proud,” Starkweather said of his team.

The forfeit also elevated Servite to the second-place finish in Division 1 and bounced Palm Desert from the section qualifier Thursday for a berth in the CIF-SCGA championship.

The county teams in the qualifier will be: Corona del Mar, Servite, Cypress, Anaheim Discovery Christian, Crean Lutheran, Dana Hills, Edison, Huntington Beach, Sunny Hills and Tesoro.

The tournament will be played at River Ridge Country Club in Oxnard, which is also hosting the section individual finals Thursday.


University’s CIF-SS Open Division champion boys tennis team (25-0) is seeded first for the CIF State SoCal regionals Friday and Saturday at The Claremont Club.

Open Division runner-up Corona del Mar and Open semifinalist Woobridge also are part of the eight-team field. Woodbridge opens against No. 2 seeded Canyon Crest Academy of San Diego.

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