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ON COURSE TO SUCCEED AGOURA JUNIOR EXCELLING AT GOLF, HER NEWEST SPORT.

Byline: Dave Shelburne Staff Writer

She tried basketball and wound up playing on a youth travel team. She took up tennis and earned a top-40 Southern California ranking as a 10- year-old. Now Amanda Goodman is playing golf, and the results are not surprising, given the sports history of this athletic Agoura High junior.

Going into the Marmonte League tournament at 2 p.m. today at Sunset Hills, she leads the league in scoring and has led the Chargers to a berth in the Southern Section team playoffs, which begin Thursday at River Ridge in Oxnard.

Goodman also has the best round of what has become the best scoring season in the area since the Southern Section made girls' golf an official sport in 1998. Her school-record 4-under-par 30 at Westlake Village tops a list of 28 rounds of par or better - all but three of them on nine-hole courses.

``She might be the best we've had,'' said Agoura coach Gary Gray, adding that Goodman is ``certainly in the top three,'' with Jasmine Koehler and Maria Gamboa, of Agoura's undefeated section-finalist team of 2002.

Goodman, who started as a freshman on that team and finished fourth in the league tournament, is reaping the benefits from the example of Koehler and Gamboa, who preceded her as Agoura selections on the Daily News All-Area team.

``I learned so much from Jasmine and Maria about course management,'' Goodman said. ``I liked to play a little risky and take the through the trees. It made it more fun, but I didn't score as well. They were kind of like, 'Just punch it out and you'll score better.' ''

From a team standpoint, Goodman could afford to take the risky shot as a freshman, since Agoura had so many good players that year.

``It was a dream team,'' she said. ``So many girls could shoot in the 30s, so much depth. Our top five were just the best.''

With less depth last season - Koehler was playing college golf and returning league MVP Gamboa was injured early before recovering and reaching a second section individual final as a senior - Goodman took on a role of one of the team leaders. She began practicing course management and displayed a tenacity to match her athleticism.

She overcame an early injury to lead the league in regular-season scoring, then rallied dramatically from her worst round of the year in the two-round league championship - storming from 15th place to second in the final round.

``She's got great game, and she's put some size on this year,'' said Marty Goodman, a frequent playing partner in his daughter's athletic journey through basketball, tennis, snowboarding and golf. ``Put her on a longer course, and it's better for her. We play at (par-72) Tierra Rejada and she shoots in the 70s from the blue tees.''

Agoura's latest star still loves tennis, but she doesn't miss what it took to play competitively.

``I was taking lessons twice a week, playing tournaments every weekend and practicing every day. It was wearing on me,'' Goodman said.

Now, she plays tennis recreationally and applies what she learned in that sport to golf - ``that it's all mental, that you can't get too far ahead of yourself in either game, and that if you don't have the mental game, you're not going to go anywhere in either.''

She likes golf's mix of the mental aspect, finesse and power. Like tennis, it can be can be highly competitive or a great weekend sport.

But mostly, Goodman likes the pressure she now gets from golf that she used to get from tennis.

``It's all on you, and I love that,'' she said.

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Agoura's Amanda Goodman has done well in basketball and tennis, but golf is her latest conquest.

Andy Holzman/Staff Photographer
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Nov 2, 2004
Words:633
Previous Article:HOME PRICES COAST TO STOP SLOWER GAINS FOLLOWING STRONG SUMMER SHOWING.
Next Article:DAY IN SPORTS: N.D. GOLFER WINS MISSION.


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