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IVJGA proves a success five years after inception

July 15, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

HOLTVILLE — A little more than five years ago, when Guy Yturralde started the Imperial Valley Junior Golf Association, he had a feeling that it could be a successful venture.

Through the past five years the IVJGA has seen players come and go, but right now there is a group of 14 players who have been with the association since its inception.

The ages of players in this core group range from 12- 18 years old. From a seasoned veteran like 18-year-old Matt Mouser, who was named Imperial Valley League player of the year this season, to 14-year-old Tyler Douthitt, an incoming freshman at Southwest High School in El Centro, who also won the IVJGA's first two tournaments this season, the association has produced some of the best high school golfers in the Valley.

"I really did expect a number of players to stick around and compete every year," said Yturralde. "Golf is really an addictive-type of sport. Once a kid gets committed then they're pretty much hooked."


It's not just going out on the links and trying to win that Yturralde feels is the reason for the success of the IVJGA, there's more to it.

"These kids really get to know each other and develop great friendships," Yturralde said. "They can be highly competitive when they're out playing, but once they finish they're back to messing around with each other. That's one of the really great things about this."

One of the players who has witnessed the evolution of the IVJGA first hand is Guy Yturralde's son Ty Yturralde, a 16-year-old junior at Southwest High.

He said things started slowly for the association, but have since snowballed.

"That first year there weren't as many people out here playing with us. But it's definitely evolved since then," said Ty, who won the championship division of the IVJGA's tournament, shooting a 79 at the Barbara Worth Golf Resort on Friday. "The level of play has gotten more competitive and now we have girls playing and people from other countries. So yeah, it really has changed."

Those changes and the fact the IVJGA has gotten more competitive have helped mold players and develop their all-around games.

For Tyler Douthitt it's the competitiveness and the chance to play against some of the Valley's best that he feels has improved his game. With no high school experience under his belt yet, he said competing in the association is preparing him for the challenges of high school golf.

One of the players who was in the same position as Douthitt is Matt Mouser. He joined the IVJGA before high school and he said competing in the summer tournaments helped take strokes off his scores. With extra work put in during the IVJGA's season, Mouser became one of the better high school golfers in the Valley.

"I think it's a really good experience, especially for the younger kids," said Mouser. "Even though it's a little different than high school, it still gets you prepared for it. I think I've really gotten a lot out of it."

Following Yturralde in the championship division was Mouser, who took second with an 80. He was followed by Hector Tapia, Arek Legarra and Jose Herrajon, who tied for third with 85s.

Winning the majors division was Anthony Valenzuela with an 89, followed by Dustin Driscoll's 98 and Luis Marquez's 99.

Martin Salgado shot a 48 to win the minors division with Christhian Marquez carding a 52 to take second. Rafael Quiroz finished third with a 56.

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