Mater Dei’s Jaden Cantafio savors narrow victory at Orange County senior golf showcase – Orange County Register

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COSTA MESA In-N-Out Burger delivered to the course. Custom, embroidered score books for every player. A golf bag and prestigious invite for the winner. And best of all, camaraderie with friends while playing golf.

Nothing can bring back the spring of 2020 for seniors but the inaugural Orange County Boys Golf All-Star Senior Showcase at Costa Mesa Country Club took its best swing on Monday.

Twenty-eight seniors from Southern California played the par-70 Mesa Linda Course and picked up a few perks along the way in their first high school competition since the coronavirus pandemic ended their season in mid-March.

Former Mater Dei player Jaden Cantafio took home the biggest prize, out-dueling former Monarchs teammate Andrew Hoekstra in a one-hole playoff to capture the event with a sizzling 4-under-par 66.

With the victory, the Washington State-bound Cantafio also won a golf bag donated by One with Golf in Irvine and a spot in the Boys High School Golf National Invitational at Pinehust Resort in North Carolina.

Cantafio also savored a few other highlights.

“It was a fun round,” said Cantafio, who this past year attended Tesla Academy, a blended, online school in Irvine.

“I was playing with a few buddies of mine. It’s fun to get back and kind of just meet with everyone again after all the time without seeing them. … I have’t played a tournament since this all started.”

Cantafio and his Mater Dei teammates — including Geoffrey Von der Ahe and Ryan Pham — enjoyed the In-N-Out after their round courtesy of Monarchs coach Ryan Kelaher.

“I was eating on the putting green,” Cantafio said with a laugh. “I’m super thankful for everything.”

In the playoff, Cantafio made par on the par-4 No. 1 to edge the Long Beach State-bound Hoekstra, who carded his only bogey of the afternoon.

“One last hurrah,” Hoekstra said of the event, organized by Edison coach Brendan Patch and Kelaher.

Cantafio, who won the CIF-SS Southern individual regional as a junior, received an exemption to play in the national championships in August.

One with Golf donated score card holders to each player Monday with their names embroidered on the front.

“People heard about (our event) and I think wanted to do something,” Patch said of the donations and national invite.

The players observed social distancing as they walked the course during their round. In other precautions due to the coronavirus, the flag sticks remained in the holes and the players didn’t rake the sand in the bunkers.

“For Coach Patch and I,” Kelaher said, “putting something together to celebrate the seniors was a great idea. … All these kids did great.”

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