Orange County boys golfer of the year: Tyler Gou, Crean Lutheran

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Crean Lutheran senior Tyler Guo says the most important work he did to improve his golf game this season took place when he was nowhere near a golf course.

Guo, who for the second year in a row is the Register’s boys golfer of the year, said his results and success were a result of working with a sports psychologist, Kevin Sverduk, who is also a golf performance coach.

  • The OC Register’s Boys Golf Athlete of the Year, Tyler Guo, 18, of Crean Lutheran High, photographed on Wednesday, June 5, 2019 at the Strawberry Farms Golf Club in Irvine. (Photo by Michael Kitada, Contributing Photographer)

  • The OC Register’s Boys Golf Athlete of the Year, Tyler Guo, 18, of Crean Lutheran High, photographed on Wednesday, June 5, 2019 at the Strawberry Farms Golf Club in Irvine. (Photo by Michael Kitada, Contributing Photographer)

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  • The OC Register’s Boys Golf Athlete of the Year, Tyler Guo, 18, of Crean Lutheran High, photographed on Wednesday, June 5, 2019 at the Strawberry Farms Golf Club in Irvine. (Photo by Michael Kitada, Contributing Photographer)

  • The OC Register’s Boys Golf Athlete of the Year, Tyler Guo, 18, of Crean Lutheran High, photographed on Wednesday, June 5, 2019 at the Strawberry Farms Golf Club in Irvine. (Photo by Michael Kitada, Contributing Photographer)

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When he moved from Texas to Orange County three years ago, Guo tried to work through golf’s trials by himself. He acknowledges he didn’t have much success.

All-County Teams | Athlete of the Year | Coach of the Year

Guo will join the USC golf team in the fall, and the Trojans’ coach, Chris Zambri, put him in contact with Sverduk.

And the rest, as the saying goes, is history.

Last month, Guo became the first player in 24 years to win back-to-back SCGA So Cal Championships. Guo shot a 4-under-par 68 at Brookside Golf Course, but he needed a strong, thoughtful performance in his sudden-death playoff with Anaheim Discovery Christian freshman Chanachon Chaokprajakchat to pull out the victory,

Guo’s first tee shot in the playoff nearly doomed his chances. His ball came to rest in mud behind a tree, some 10 yards to the left of the fairway, while Chaokprajakchat split the fairway with his drive.

“When I got behind the tree,” Guo said, “all I was doing was working through the possibilities.”

Because the pin was on the right, he wanted to play a fade to give himself as much green as possible to work with on his next shot. But the lie was set up for a draw, the more difficult option. Guo tried to pull off the seemingly impossible shot. The result couldn’t have been better.

His ball arced through the forest in front of him and landed on the back corner of the green. He made his putt for a par to match Chaokprajakchat, and then Guo won the title with a birdie on the next hole.

Sverduk told Guo to focus on only the things that he can control, and not to labor over a difficult shot, thinking those extra seconds of deliberation would increase the chances of finding the hole.

“You have to stick to your routine,” Guo said. “I used to have the mindset that you have to make it or it will be bad, and once your mental game goes it is hard to get it back. The mental game is the one thing in golf where there is no limit to how much you can improve.”

Guo said he still has a lot to improve on as he heads to the college ranks.

“But I am still happy about what I did (at Crean Lutheran),” he said.

If you combine the last two seasons, Guo turned in one of the most dominant postseason performances in recent history. Last year, he won the SCGA So Cal Championship and the CIF State Championship.

This spring he won the SCGA title for the second time and tied for 11th place in the state tournament by shooting a 1-under-par 70 at Poppy Hills Golf Course.

His cumulative score in relation to par through those four rounds was 15-under par. In his last eight postseason rounds, Guo was in the 60s five times and never posted a score higher than 74.