Simplicity for Wheatley leads to low rounds

Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week

Changes to stance and set up have helped propel junior to top of Corona del Mar lineup.

May 03, 2012|By Bryce Alderton, Special to the Daily Pilot
  • Corona del Mar High golfer Chase Wheatley is the Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week.
Corona del Mar High golfer Chase Wheatley is the Daily… (KEVIN CHANG, Daily…)

Chase Wheatley moved from Illinois two years ago and has zoomed toward the top of the Corona del Mar High boys' golf team lineup in a season of winning, a lot of winning. The Sea Kings come off their first undefeated season (22-0), with seniors Mike Moorhead, John Davenport and Brian Mull helping the team go 40-0 in Pacific Coast League matches during their four years.

"Things happen naturally," Wheatley, a junior, said of this season's run. "It's been pretty simple: just go out, play and not think too much. Everyone has had rough rounds here and there, but overall we're starting to get better. I am fortunate enough to be playing well.

"We knew if we played to the best of our ability we would win every match. We have a pretty deep team."

As evidence, six CdM players reached the final day of league finals earlier this week at San Juan Hills Golf Club.


Wheatley has been buoyed by playing alongside Davenport, Mull and Moorhead.

"There is some motivation there, trying to play up to their level," Wheatley said.

For much of the year Wheatley has done just that. At one stage this season he was medalist in 12 of 16 matches.

Sure there will be rounds when things don't go as planned.

"Today wasn't my best effort, but you will have those days."

Wheatley was referring to the first round of the league championships, when he took a nine on the 17th hole and a bogey on the 18th to finish with a 78. He and five teammates (Moorhead, Davenport, Mull, sophomore Hale Furey and Karick Brown) all made the cut to reach the second day of the league finals.

Wheatley rebounded with a one-over-par round the following day. He has the distance.

"He's started hitting the ball farther this year," Furey said of Wheatley. "He can hit it over 300 [yards] when he wants to."

Wheatley started playing golf when he was 12 and living in the Chicago area. He played tennis at the Onwentsia Club in Lake Forest, Ill., and since the club had a golf course, he gravitated toward the game.

He moved to Southern California two years ago and started working on his swing with Paul Hahn, head pro at Newport Beach Country Club.

The two set a goal of a 35-36 scoring average for nine holes this season. Wheatley said the lessons he learns from Hahn can be applied from full swing to chipping and putting.

"Get back to simplicity and eventually get more complex," Wheatley said.

Wheatley was hitting five-irons 230 yards when the two started working together, Hahn said.

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