Luke Schultz of Palisades wins City Section individual golf championship

Luke Schultz picked a perfect time to shoot his lowest score.

The Palisades High junior shot a four-under par 68, including an eagle on No. 18 that forced a playoff, then sank an eight-footer for birdie on the sixth playoff hole to beat Isaiah Kim of Van Nuys and win the City Section individual golf championship Wednesday afternoon at Griffith Park’s Harding Course.

“I’ve hit that same putt from that exact distance a thousand times,” Schultz said. “Same old putt and the same result. My personal best was a 74 here and today I shoot 68. Can’t explain. There’s no rhyme or reason to why I shot what I did today. Putts were just falling.”

No putt was bigger than the one Schultz curved in from 15 feet on his third shot at the par-five 18th to catch clubhouse leader Kim, who ultimately had to settle for the runner-up medal for the second straight year, having carded a one-under to finish one shot behind Granada Hills’ Jahan Battu last spring.

Playing in the first group alongside Granada Hills’ Joseph Wong, who was fourth a year ago, Kim pulled off the shot off the day after driving the green on the 17th hole. He drained a 75-foot eagle putt to take a two-stroke lead after Wong had pulled even with a birdie at one-under with a birdie at 16. Kim then birdied the 18th to give himself a seemingly safe cushion.

“It was a double breaker from the back of the green that started to the right, came back left, then came back right,” Kim said. “ I had zero intention of making that putt. It was 100% about speed. I hit it a little harder than I wanted. so when it dropped I just froze and was like ‘Did that really just happen?’ ”

After bogeying the first hole, Kim parred the next five before back-to-back-to-back birdies at seven, eight and nine. Kim bogeyed No. 13 but shooting three under on the last two holes left him waiting nervously to see what Schultz would finish, several groups behind.

Several foursomes were still on the course when Kin and Schultz returned to the 18th tee box to begin a sudden death playoff. Both made short birdie putts and headed to the 17th, where Schultz had to blast out of a bad lie on his second shot with his opponent safely on the green. He eventually saved par and watched as Kim’s title-clinching putt stopped an inch short of the cup.

“There are so many par fours and par fives at my home course at Mountaingate,” Schultz said. “The key shot was that second time that we played 17 when I had a 30-yard chip that was all dirt and I told myself to choke down on the club and I pulled it off.”

They returned to No. 18 for the third playoff hole, where Schultz again scrambled after an errant drive landed right of the cart path. The fourth and fifth playoff holes were at No. 17 and on the fourth, Kim extended the match with a clutch birdie putt from 12 feet after Schultz had rolled in a 17-footer moments before.

They returned to No. 18 for the sixth extra hole and this time Kim hooked his tee shot into the weeds next to the fairway. He chipped back onto the green but it gave Schultz the slim opening he needed to win the title.

Wong finished third after birdies on two of the last three holes, but afterward he lamented a few missed opportunities. “I lost a lot of strokes with my putting, I had three three-putts and I had a birdie at 16 to get back in contention but I three-putted 17 and Isiah had that amazing eagle so that was that.”

Schultz’s marathon effort also helped Palisades secure its 23rd team crown and third in the last four years with a 10-stroke triumph over defending champion Granada Hills.

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