Athlete of the Week: Rancho Bernardo High’s Huang steadily improving his game
By Michael Bower
Franklin Huang was cruising along through the first two rounds of the Callaway Junior World Golf Championships last weekend at Torrey Pines Golf Course.
The soon-to-be junior at Rancho Bernardo High found himself in fourth place and within striking distance to capture the title of one of the most prestigious tournaments 15- to-17-year-old golfers play in the year.
“Through the first day, everything was working,” Huang said. “My putting was good and everything was great the first couple of days.”
Then things took a turn for the worse. Huang shot a 76 in the third round and a 79 in the fourth round, finishing with a four-round total of 298. Still, though, he finished in a very respectable 13th place — a huge improvement over last year’s result.
For his efforts, Huang is the Toyota of Poway Athlete of the Week.
“It was an improvement from last year, but I am definitely disappointed in how I finished,” Huang said. “It was 72 holes so maybe I got a little tired and lost focus. My game kind of fell apart.”
The conditions of the course also made it difficult on the golfers in the final two rounds.
“The course was brutal,” Huang said. “It was long and they firmed up the greens. The pins were tough. It was just a survival test.”
Huang was cut after three rounds in last year’s tournament. But he has improved drastically since then. Just two weeks ago Huang captured his first American Junior Golf Association title at The Legends tournament in Temecula, breaking par all three days and finishing 11-under for the tournament.
“I have been working really hard on my short game and it has really shown in my scores,” Huang said. “The summer is really about working on everything. It felt pretty good to get my first AJGA tournament win. It gives me confidence and shows that I can play against the top players.”
Huang was grouped with last year’s champion and this year’s second-place finisher Beau Hossler at the Callaway World’s last weekend. The gallery following the group was over 100 people.
“That was the biggest gallery I have played in front of,” Huang said. “It added a little extra pressure. I wasn’t used to that distraction, but it was a great experience.”
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