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Anguiano standing tall at Sahalee Players Championship

Cal State Fullerton men’s golf coach Jason Drotter thinks Sahalee Country Club perfectly suits his former No. 1 player.

He appears to be correct.

Mark Anguiano, an unheralded recruit out of Whittier, California, because of his small size, is standing the tallest through three rounds at the 21st Sahalee Players Championship in Sammamish.

Anguiano birdied two of the final three holes Tuesday to complete a 3-under-par 69 to grab a one-stroke lead over UNLV’s Kurt Kitayama heading into the final round Wednesday.

Kitayama shared the day’s best round — 68 — as the top two golfers separated themselves from the pack.

Anguiano is the leader at 7-under 209. Kitayama is at 210. Byron Meth, Corey Pereira and James Beale are tied for third at 214.

If Anguiano or Kitayama finish this off Wednesday, it would easily be the biggest amateur win of either golfer’s career.

Understandably, Drotter is picking his former standout as the man to beat — and for good reason. He might not be the longest hitter, but he hits it straight and really has the nerve for challenging greens like those at Sahalee.

“He loves the course,” Drotter said. “It is tailor-made for him because the greens are difficult, and he is such a great putter.”

Drotter said Anguiano made a big jump in performance as a senior, registering nine top-10 finishes, earning a victory at Fullerton’s Folino Invitational, and had a stroke average a little more than 70.

As good as Kitayama has been as UNLV’s top golfer, he has not won. He is also on quite a roll, making just one bogey over his past 42 holes. Like Anguiano, he birdied the 16th and 18th holes en route to his 68.

The leaders tee off at 11:40 a.m. on Wednesday.

Whalen, Warner lead Moore event

Ephrata’s Aaron Whalen ran off a string of three back-nine birdies to fire a 3-under-par 67 for a three-shot lead after the first day of the American Junior Golf Association’s Ryan Moore Junior Championship at RMG Club at Oakbrook in Lakewood.

Whalen was the only golfer, boy or girl, to break par in the first round.

Kennewick’s Catherine Warner also holds a three-stroke advantage after her even-par 70. Defending girls champion Ashley Fitzgibbons, of Sammamish, is one of three golfers tied for second at 73.

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