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Busy Summer Ahead for Top Junior Golfer Paolucci

La Jolla Country Day senior finishes second by a shot in CIF Championships, helping the Torreys to a regional berth.

Most golfers who finish second by a shot in an important tournament might let the thought of a just missing out on a championship linger in their head for weeks. Not Anthony Paolucci. He's too busy having fun.

The nation's top-ranked junior golfer and La Jolla Country Day senior failed to defend his 2010 San Diego Section championship at on Thursday, finishing at 6-under-par 138 for two rounds (the first was Tuesday), a stroke behind Scripps Ranch High senior Alexander Schauffele.

But he did help his Torreys finish as the top small school in the field with a five-man score of 773, well behind Torrey Pines (737) but just in front of La Costa Canyon (775), San Pasqual (776), Rancho Bernardo (777), La Jolla (778) and Coronado (778).

The top two schools qualified for the Southern California Regionals on Tuesday in Pasadena, where the top teams can make it to the state championship.

Before that, Paolucci has to graduate on Friday from La Jolla Country Day and prepare for a June in which he hopes to qualify for the U.S. Open before playing in the FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis. He earned a sponsor's exemption for the PGA Tour event off his fine showing at the Tour stop at Torrey Pines in January, when he made the cut at the Farmer's Insurance Open.

There will also be several prestigious amateur events before he heads to his freshman year at USC in August.

One hole cost Paolucci dearly in the final round. He four-putted the 11th green to go from two shots up on Schauffele to a stroke behind his playing partner in the final group. The course played tougher than it had on Tuesday, and Paolucci and the others knew why.

"The pin placements were really tough," Paolucci noted. "I would say that they were borderline unfair. But the CIF knows that there are some good high school players out here that are going to try to tear up the course. They have to defend against that by making the course tougher."

After a birdie at 10, he had trouble at 11 from above the green at the par-3, where he would card a triple-bogey six.

"I had a 3-foot putt for bogey but a 20-footer coming back for double bogey," he said. "It's going to happen. He (Schauffele) made a few good up-and-downs, and I made a few. I knew I needed an eagle at 18, but it wasn't to be."

No problem. He'll have plenty of other golfing moments to savor over the summer and for years to come.

CIF Boys Golf Team Results:

1. Torrey Pines 737; 2. La Jolla Country Day 773; 3. La Costa Canyon 775; 4. San Pasqual 776; 5. Rancho Bernardo 777; 6T. La Jolla 778; 6T. Coronado 778; 8. St. Augustine 787; 9. Scripps Ranch 795; 10. Francis Parker 801; 11. Bonita Vista 821; 12. Carlsbad 826.

Top Individual Finishers:

1. Alexander Schauffele (Scripps Ranch) 67-70 -- 137; 2. Anthony Paolucci (LJCD) 67-71 -- 138; 3. Jay Hwang (Torrey Pines) 68-71 -- 139; 4. Ben Doyle (La Jolla) 71-72 -- 143; 5. Riley Schultz (Bonita Vista) 71-74 -- 145; 6T. Michael Kim (Torrey Pines) 73-73 -- 146; 6T. Andrew Lister (Coronado) 73-73 -- 146; 8T. Brian Cole (San Pasqual) 73-74 -- 147; 8T. Max Alarcon (Poway) 75-72 -- 147; 8T. Nahum Mendoza III (Francis Parker) 75-72 -- 147; 11. Kameron Kubis (Scripps Ranch) 76-72 -- 148; 12T. Jose Favela (St. Augustine) 74-75 -- 149; 12T. Robert Gojuangco (Torrey Pines) 75-74 -- 149; 12T. Christopher Tuulik (La Jolla) 76-73 -- 149; 15. Franklin Huang (Rancho Bernardo) 76-74 -- 150.

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