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Haro shines in national tournament

August 10, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

There is no doubting that Central Union High's Ivan Haro is among the cream of the crop of the local high school golf scene.

Being considered one of the best golfers in the Valley is an honor for the 17-year-old Haro, but it pales in comparison to being one of the best high school golfers in the nation, which is what he now can be considered.

Last weekend Haro competed in the Tourney Sports USA national tournament in Hawaii. He didn't just compete, but in a field of 45 players from around the United States, Haro finished fourth, shooting a combined score of 300 over the four-day tournament, just five strokes behind the winner.

The players Haro competed against are considered the best of the best around the country, hand-picked by a Tourney Sports USA committee.

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"That was an honor just to be picked to compete. When they pick you to play out there, that kind of lets you know that you're one of the best in the country," said Haro. "When I first found out that I was picked, I couldn't think right. I was just really surprised that I was picked to be a part of that."

While Haro did take fourth, he may have been able to take it all had it not been for tough conditions the first day of competition, as Haro shot an 85 in rain and 30 mph winds.

Haro put that first day behind him and answered with a 73 on the second day, then had his best day in shooting a 68 on the third before finishing with a 74.

"It feels so good right now, knowing how well I did. I can say that I was up there at the same level as some of the best golfers in the country," said Haro. "Playing in that tournament really brought my self-esteem up so much because I showed that I was good enough to be there. Those guys I played against weren't there for nothing. They were hand-picked and were top quality golfers."

Haro didn't just have the one tournament in mind when preparing for the event. He was looking at the tournament as a stepping stone.

Haro thinks his performance will help get him gain some recognition among American Junior Golf Association officials. Should Haro make it into the AJGA, he will be looked at by college coaches around the country. He hopes all that will lead to his goal of becoming a professional golfer.

"I knew it'd be good for my career. When I was getting ready for that tournament I was thinking about how it could possibly help me in the future," said Haro.

The tournament didn't just help open doors for Haro, it helped his golf game.

"I think I'm a better golfer just from this experience. It kind of improved my swing and helped my mental game," said Haro. "Mentally, I got prepared for that tournament the same I would for a tournament down here. But just playing against that competition and playing well gave me more confidence."

Haro thinks his playing the tournament could help open doors for other golfers in the Imperial Valley.

For those golfers to get that opportunity, if picked they must raise $3,000 to pay for expenses. In Haro's case, Central Union High, where Haro has played varsity golf since he was a freshman, paid the expenses, but Haro must repay the school.

"The school is a big reason that I was able to go out there and compete. If not for the people there, I probably wouldn't have been able to go," said Haro. "But I'd really like to see more people get involved in helping out. This tournament is a great opportunity and hopefully we'll have more golfers from down here be able to compete in it."

Those looking to help Haro pay for expenses should call 353-0166.

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