MURRIETA – A roughly three-hour Southwestern League golf match between Murrieta Valley and Great Oak on Thursday afternoon, April 20, came down to a couple of putts on the ninth green at Bear Creek Golf Club in Murrieta. Both putts went the Nighthawks’ way in a 187-188 win which secured no worse than a shared league championship for Murrieta Valley who can win an outright title on Tuesday, April 25, against Murrieta Mesa. It’s their first league title since 2018.

Murrieta Valley sophomore Jayden Alden, playing in the second group for Nighthawks coach Chris Mitchell, reached the par five ninth hole in two and then drained a 60-foot putt for eagle. He earned medalist honors with a bogey free three under par round of 33 which also included a birdie at the par five third hole.

Murrieta Valley’s Jayden Alden hits a tee shot in Thursday’s Southwestern League match against Great Oak at Bear Creek Golf Club in Murrieta Valley News/Andrez Imaging

“For a majority of that putt I actually thought it was short,” Alden said. “But it was online and over those last few feet kept its speed, eventually falling. I’m so proud of our team for winning the league title but there’s still more out there for us to do.”

After the first groups from each side posted a combined score of 77, that putt gave the Nighthawks a six-shot lead with two groups of three in.

Sam Amoroso shot a one under par round of 35 for Great Oak in that last group, which included back-to-back birdies at the eighth and ninth holes that nearly brought the sides to a deadlock. However, Murrieta Valley’s Clay Yarbro reached the par five final hole in two and two putted from a nearly identical spot to Alden’s eagle putt for a birdie which gave his team the win.

“We’ve talked about finishing strong all year and seeing Clay and Jayden come through like they did today was the difference in this match,” Mitchell said. “We were the team to beat in the mid-2000s when we had guys like Rickie Fowler and Josh Anderson. So, it’s nice to see another group of guys win another banner. Great Oak is a very classy program that has set the standard down here for the last 15 years or so and we always appreciate the times we get to play them.”

At Bear Creek Golf Club (Par 36)

Scores listed in group order:

Murrieta Valley Scores

Rocco Judge 37, *Brayden Gilpin 40, Jayden Alden 33, Travis McSparran 39, Clay Yarbro 39, Dominic Taverrite 39

Team Total-187

Great Oak Scores

Ryan Abuan 37, *Bobby Erling 40, Nathan Sampson 38, Koa Baur 40, Sam Amoroso 35, Sebastian Glenn 38

Team Total-188

*Not counted towards team score

Derryl Trujillo can be reached via email at