BURBANK — Taking a break from Pacific League competition, four area girls’ golf teams flocked to De Bell Golf Club on Thursday to take part in the 13th annual Magnolia Park Optimist Club Invitational.
Approaching the midway point of the season, Crescenta Valley High, Burroughs, Burbank and La Cañada looked to use the 28-team event as a measuring stick.
“It’s been a great week for us,” said Crescenta Valley Coach Lee Pope, whose team won a league match Wednesday at Santa Anita Golf Course in Arcadia. “I’m ecstatic to get second in this tournament after finishing first in our league match.
“That’s two years in a row we’ve taken second in the tournament and we’ll try to get over the hump next time. This is a tough course with tough greens. You have the chance to break up the monotony of playing league matches and play against some of the top teams. It helps get you ready for the CIF playoffs.”
Sherman Oaks Notre Dame won the tournament with a 152, followed by Crescenta Valley. South Torrance placed third (167), followed by Burroughs’ No. 1 team (174).
La Cañada’s No. 1 team finished eighth with a 187. Crescenta Valley’s No. 2 team tied with Mira Costa’s No. 1 team for 10th (189). Burbank placed 14th (197), Burroughs’ No. 2 team took 19th (207) and La Cañada’s No. 2 squad was 23rd (253).
Joany Gao of Burroughs and Crescenta Valley’s Jocelyn Chia, the reigning All-Area Girls’ Golfer of the Year, each shot even-par 36s. Gao, a reigning All-Area honoree, took third in the A flight competition behind Redondo Union’s Robynn Ree (31) and Katelyn Reynolds of Notre Dame (35). Chia finished fourth after a card-off with Gao.
Gao said her putting sparked her on the short course.
“I just had to try to stay positive,” Gao said. “It was about being consistent and accurate.
“There’s less pressure because you aren’t competing in a league match, but you still have that drive to go out there and do well. It boosts my confidence.”
Burbank’s Irene Maemura, who earned a spot on the All-Area team last season, paced the Bulldogs with a 37.
Burbank Coach Branko Sevic said Maemura is beginning to peak entering the final month of the regular season.
“She had another excellent round and she keeps getting better,” Sevic said. “There’s a lot of top-notch players here and you look to step up your game.”
La Cañada’s Melissa Leo, a reigning All-Area pick, registered a 38 to pace the Spartans’ No. 1 team.
Crescenta Valley’s No. 1 team received a 38 from Andrea Han, 40 from Audrey Chung and 45 from Gina Chung.
Katrina Villareal finished with a 44 for Burroughs’ No. 1 team, which got 47s from Stephanie Adachi and Evyn Freedman. Kailee Bessho carded a 45 for La Cañada’s No. 1 team, which received a 51 from Megan Lee and a 53 from Hannah Chew.
Crescenta Valley’s No. 2 squad got 46s from Gloria Namkung and Emily Redecker, a 48 from Laura Perez and a 49 from Alice Yoon. Caitlyn McGrath finished with a 50 for Burbank, which got a 51 from Alexis Poche and 59 from Kaitlyn Brooks.
Maddie Riggs notched a 50 for Burroughs’ No. 2 team, which got a 51 from Ashley Phelps and 53s from Tiffany Mirabal and Raelinn Arnold. La Cañada’s No. 2 team got a 58 from Annie Bae, 64 from Sang Hee, 65 from Mikaela Choi and 66 from Ji Soo Park.