Photo By: Courtesy of Sally Tomlinson
St. Francis High’s Nancy Xu holds her award for winning the Helen Lengfeld Flight of last week’s California Junior Girls State Championship.
After just missing the top flight of 32 golfers at last week’s 64th California Junior Girls’ State Championship, Nancy Xu turned disappointment into delight by beating the other half of the field.
The incoming senior at St. Francis High, who was a stroke shy of qualifying for the Championship Flight, won the Helen Lengfeld Flight Thursday at the Monterey Peninsula Country Club. In the match-play final, Sunnyvale resident Xu edged Felicia Medalla of Sausalito in 19 holes.
“It was a pretty long match,” Xu said. “We were close the whole day and both made pretty good shots.”
Even until the 15th hole, both girls bagged birdies on 16 and Xu drained a 10-foot putt on 18 to force a playoff. That meant returning to the 400-yard first hole, not an ideal starting spot for Xu.
“It’s a pretty long par 4, which I thought was a disadvantage for me because she shot longer,” said Xu, who estimated that Medalla was driving the ball 10-20 yards farther than she was that day. “But I had a good drive on that hole.”
That drive traveled approximately 155 yards, according to Xu, which was about the same distance Medalla hit her ball.
Two strokes later, Xu made a 20-yard chip shot from the right rough for the win.
“It was really exciting,” said Xu, who notched four birdies on the day and didn’t have a bogey on the back nine.
After shooting a 10-over-par 83 on Monterey’s challenging Dunes Course in the stroke-play qualifier, Xu rebounded with three match-play wins to reach the lower-flight final.
“I got used to the greens a little bit and managed to get my game together,” she said.
In the round of 16, Xu beat Los Altos High incoming senior Kelsey Kawaguchi in a match that spanned 18 holes.
“It was just a friendly match,” said Xu, who has played Kawaguchi several times over the years, “and it was pretty close.”
Xu beat another local participant in the next round. She topped Los Altos resident Simar Singh 6 and 4 in the quarterfinals.
Singh, 13, won the tournament’s Starlets division (ages 9-12) the past two years.