Walking to the 18th tee Wednesday afternoon at Griffith Park’s Harding Course, Granada Hills senior Jahan Battu never considered a conservative approach. Not with a chance to win the City Section golf championship.
Tied at one-under par with clubhouse leader Isaiah Kim of Van Nuys, Battu reached the par-five green in two and two-putted from there for a one-stroke victory. Displaying nerves of steel, Battu lagged a 13-foot downhill eagle attempt to within six inches of the cup, then tapped in for birdie and received a hug from teammate Joseph Wong.
“I knew I needed a par or better but my mentality was birdie all the way,” said Battu, who carded six birdies and four bogeys after shooting a one-over 73 to finish seventh last year. “I hit driver to the fairway and a 5-iron pure to the green. The thing I was worried about on the putt was getting the speed right and it felt good off the blade.”
Sporting a UCLA cap to signify where he’ll be going in the fall, the Porter Ranch resident was comfortable despite windy conditions that contributed to all but two of the 58 players in the field finishing above par.
Kim, a sophomore, also birdied the 18th, and he spent the next hour on the putting green in case there was a sudden-death playoff.
“I was happy to be leading but this is golf and anything can happen,” Kim said. “I’m happy for Jahan. … That’s his lowest competitive round ever, so he picked a good day for it.”
Playing alongside Kim was defending individual champion Turner Osswald of El Camino Real, who shot four-under to finish first last spring. He fell out of contention Wednesday after a double bogey eight on the 16th hole, tying for fourth at 74 with Wong.
“I guess the group in front of us played his ball by accident, so he had to hit another tee shot and it got him a little rattled,” Kim said.
“Wearing my Bruins hat gave me good luck today,” Battu said. “Growing up in L.A. it’s been my dream school. I’ve played this course six or seven times and I like it more than Wilson. You can hit fades and draws off the tee and I like that aspect of it. There are definitely birdie opportunities out there. Our goal today was winning the team title so hopefully it’s the cherry on top.”
That came two hours later when the Highlanders secured their first team crown since 2019 with a cumulative score of 27 over par — 10 shots better than runnerup and defending champion Palisades, which was playing without its top player Gavin Loughran, who was second last spring. Loughran woke up with neck pain and could not compete.
“It hurts — it was really stiff and I’m still unable to move it,” Loughran said at the medal ceremony after showing up to cheer on his teammates. Kourey Patterson of Palisades finished alone in third with a 73.
Granada Hills and Palisades have combined to win the last 10 team titles.