Advertisement

Jeff Wright, Millennium Hall of Fame

December 11, 1999

Long before high school golf teams took Hawaiian trips or scheduled

nonleague exchanges with host sites at Pebble Beach and Pelican Hill,

players often wondered where their next tee shot would come from.

"We almost got our program canceled back then," said former Corona del

Mar High standout Jeff Wright, the Los Angeles Times' Orange County

Player of the Year as a junior in 1982.

Wright, who became a junior golf sensation after picking up the sticks

Advertisement

at age 11, remembers when his Sea Kings wore knickers to school his

senior year on days of matches to increase program awareness on campus.

"It brought some attention to us, I guess," he said. "At first (the

idea) got thrashed (by student opinions), then they started thinking it

was pretty cool."

A seven-time Irvine Coast Country Club junior champion from 1977

through '83, Wright was CdM's No. 1 man during its Sea View League

championship season in '82. Coach Jack Errion's squad, also led by senior

captain Ted Norby and senior Cary Spindoni, defeated Foothill by one

stroke for the CIF Southern Division title.

But CdM, of all schools, had a funding problem and golf was on the

verge of being dropped. "But we hung on," Wright said. "I think our coach

pretty much did it for nothing."

Errion, Bob Boaz and Herb Wilson, a volunteer and Irvine Coast member,

were CdM's coaches, while the late Ray Haines discovered Wright hitting

balls off the tee one day and started giving him lessons. Haines, who

also taught Gary McCord and Don Pooley, never charged the young Wright a

dime.

"(Haines) was the biggest catalyst to my golf (career)," said Wright,

who made a hole in one while playing with his parents for the first time,

triggering encouragement for him to play more and travel the junior

circuit.

Wright, who won numerous junior titles, enjoyed a big year in '82,

including a victory in the Southern California Junior Championship at

Santa Ana Country Club -- six rounds of match play.

Strong in the short game, Wright shot 76 in the CIF individual finals

for the Sea Kings in '82, finishing in the top 20 in Southern California.

In 1983, Wright had another big year, winning the Sea View League

individual title, earning team MVP honors and being selected as a member

of the All-American team of the American Junior Golf Association.

In the California State Amateur that year at Cypress Point Golf Club

in Pebble Beach, Wright shot a career-best 69 in the opening round to end

the day tied for second place with Greg Twiggs, one of many future PGA

Daily Pilot Articles Daily Pilot Articles
|
|
|