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Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week

Sailors’ Draganza driven to perfection

Newport Harbor High senior golfer’s passion for the game helps the Tars complete an unbeaten regular season.

October 30, 2009|By Barry Faulkner

Like most who seriously pursue the game, golf has driven Lauren Draganza to tears. She has, on occasion, thrown up her hands and considered walking off the course and away from the sport.

But unlike the scores of golfers who pine for even a brief period of mastery over the ball, the Newport Harbor High senior has felt the exquisite satisfaction that goes with an 18-hole round that left no regrets.

“I shot even par [70] on the Mesa Linda course [at Costa Mesa Golf & Country Club],” said Draganza, who also had a hole in one in 2007 on the sixth hole at Big Canyon Country Club. “It was my best score ever and I wouldn’t change anything about that round. It was perfect.”

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Perfection is something Draganza experienced again this season, helping the Sailors win all 19 of their dual matches. With Draganza leading the way, the Sailors are 36-1 the last two seasons, with back-to-back Sunset League championships.

Draganza was medalist in both matches last week to complete the regular season. She then paced her team by finishing third at the Sunset League individual finals, completed Tuesday.

She shot par 36 on Oct. 22 to key a league win over Fountain Valley at Mile Square Golf Course, after shooting one-over 36 in a nonleague victory over Back Bay rival Corona del Mar the day before on the Mesa Linda course.

For her efforts, she is the Daily Pilot Athlete of the Week.

Draganza’s success is no fluke, but rather the byproduct of sometimes mind-numbing practice repetition.

“She has dedicated herself to being the best she can possibly be,” Newport Harbor Coach Scott Tarnow said. “She has passion for the game and she has been doing it most of her life. She’s pretty much at the golf course every day.”

Draganza said she began playing at age 7, at the suggestion of her father, Michael. Except for a three-year period in which she focused on soccer, from ages 11-13, she has committed between 90 minutes and two hours each day, on days she is not playing a round, to work on her skills.

“It has become a habit,” she said of her practice regimen, which she sometimes laments, but frequently credits with helping her play at a consistently high level.

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