Edison's Steinfeld enjoys stellar start at Palmetto

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OCEAN ISLAND BEACH, N.C. – Kevin Steinfeld was ecstatic when he arrived at the scoring tent Thursday at the Palmetto High School Championship.

He knew he had played pretty well, firing a 2-under 70 with four birdies in the qualifying round at Ocean Ridge Plantation's Panther's Run course. Then he found out it was good enough to earn him a share of medalist honors.

"I was pretty happy with the way I played," said the senior from Edison High School in Huntington Beach, Calif. "I was really comfortable with the greens. . . . Most of the putts I made were pretty difficult; a lot of sloping putts."

Not a bad way to spend spring break.

Steinfeld and his team made the cross-country trip Tuesday. They arrived in the Myrtle Beach, S.C., area Wednesday and played practice rounds at True Blue Golf Club and Caledonia Golf and Fish Club in Pawleys Island, S.C.

Steinfeld shot 73 and 75 in those rounds, so he had a feeling it was going to be a good week despite the "drastic" differences between the courses for the Palmetto and the courses he plays back home.

"Our courses aren't tree-lined like this, so you can spray it anywhere," Steinfeld said.

It didn't matter, though, as Steinfeld drove the ball solidly Thursday and didn't lose a single ball or take a penalty stroke.

Steinfeld is signed to play Division II golf at Cal State-Monterey Bay in the fall, something he didn't even think was a possibility until about two or three years ago.

"I was never really into golf when I was little, played a little baseball, too," Steinfeld said. "Picked it up going into high school, and two years later I started getting really competitive and said I wanted to get a golf scholarship.

"I've seen my game take off the last year. I never really thought college golf was an option, but now it's going to happen."

Now, Steinfeld hopes to also see his name atop the leaderboard in something other than a qualifying round. He will participate in the 36-hole championship flight portion of the Palmetto, which begins Friday at Ocean Ridge Plantation's Lion's Paw course. Saturday, the final round will take place at Sea Trail Golf Resort down the road in Sunset Beach, N.C.

"Looking forward to pulling it off this time and hopefully I can keep going lower," said Steinfeld, who admitted he's struggled closing out tournaments in the past.

He won't get to build on Thursday's number, either, as the scores reset for the 36-hole championship flight tournament.

"That's the only problem," he added with a smile.

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