For the past four high school golf seasons Braeden Koran’s home course has been Pala Mesa. The 2013 Fallbrook High School graduate will be playing his practice rounds further south in the near future as a representative of the Cal State University San Marcos men’s golf team.
“I’m just excited to be playing for four more years after high school. I don’t really know what I would do without sports,” Koran said.
‘”It’s very well deserved,” said Fallbrook coach Steve Jorde.
“It’s quite an honor. There aren’t a lot of golf scholarships out there,” Jorde said. “We haven’t had many through the years.”
Koran was also considering Grand Canyon University and the University of San Francisco before selecting Cal State San Marcos. “It’s really close to home. I really like the coach,” Koran said. “I think he’s going to get me to the next level.”
Greg Hutton is the Cal State San Marcos coach. “I think it’s going to be a perfect fit for him to be a part of our program,” Hutton said.
Hutton and Koran met at the North County Junior Golf Association’s Thanksgiving Shoot Out tournament Nov. 19 and 20 at the Fallbrook Golf Club. Koran’s score of 157, including birdies on his final two holes, gave him fourth place. “I told him I’d start following him,” Hutton said.
Hutton and Koran returned to the Fallbrook Golf Club for the NCJGA’s Dec. 15 and 16 tournament. Koran’s rounds of 70 and 73 strokes gave him a 36-hole total of 143 and a six-stroke margin of victory. “I could tell that he was a pretty composed kid,” Hutton said.
“He’s more mature than most of the kids out there,” Hutton said. “He’s 17, but he acts like he’s 21.”
Koran averaged 38.4 strokes per nine holes during the 2013 season, and in 27 nine-hole rounds he required fewer than 40 strokes in all but six of those. “The whole year he was one of the better players in North County without a doubt,” Jorde said.
“From his junior year to his senior year he improved tremendously,” Hutton said.
During the Avocado West League tournament, Koran shot rounds of 74 and 80 strokes; his score of 154 placed fourth among the league golfers and he received first-team league honors. Koran qualified for the CIF tournament as an individual and opened with a 70-stroke round, one shot behind the three leaders.
“He was our leader, he was our team captain,” Jorde said.
The all-league recognition at the first-team level was the second for Koran. Fallbrook was in the Avocado East League in 2012 when Koran was on the league’s first team.
Koran is a lifelong Fallbrook resident. He attended Maie Ellis Elementary School through third grade and La Paloma Elementary School in fourth and fifth grades. After the family moved, he completed his elementary school education at Live Oak in sixth grade before spending seventh and eighth grades at Potter Junior High School.
Koran’s father, Don, attended Bishop Montgomery High School in Torrance where he played football, basketball, baseball, and tennis. Koran’s mother, Shannon, currently coaches Fallbrook High School’s softball team; Shannon Fitzgerald played softball for the Warriors before graduating in 1988 and subsequently played collegiate softball at San Diego State University. Koran has a younger sister, Brooke, who is on Fallbrook High School’s softball team and has completed two years of high school.
Koran began playing golf competitively when he was in eighth grade. “I’ve kind of played it my whole life,” he said. “I started playing well and I just got hooked.”
Koran began playing golf with his family. “I just kind of picked it up myself,” he said.
Koran played on Fallbrook High School’s freshman basketball team when he was in ninth grade. He ran track in junior high school, but at the high school level golf is the same season as track and field (spring).
Koran considers his 70-stroke round, which was two under par, at the CIF tournament to be the highlight of his high school career.
“Guys like that don’t come around very often,” Jorde said. “Our whole program is going to miss him.”
In 2013, Cal State San Marcos was ranked among the top five NAIA teams throughout the entire season and finished third in the 2013 NAIA Men’s Golf National Championships, which is the team’s highest-ever finish.
The Cougars also finished with the lowest single-season scoring average in team history and won three tournaments. CSUSM had two NAIA All-Americans in addition to three All-Americans selected by the Golf Coaches Association of America. The 2013 squad used two freshmen for every tournament in addition to three seniors who will not return.
“Next year I’m going to be able to count on him,” Hutton said. “He’s going to work really hard at it.”
Koran is leaning toward a business major and hopes for a career in the golf industry after college.
“I just think he’s going to be great for our program,” Hutton said.