Local golfers shine at CCS championships

Courtesy of Megan Chou
Individual qualifiers for this week’s Northern California girls golf championships include, from left, Mountain View High’s Reeya Vasishta, Pinewood School’s Megan Chou, Los Gatos High’s Elizabeth Lu and Los Altos High’s Caris Kim.

Strong performances at last week’s Central Coast Section girls golf championships in Monterey catapulted three local players into this week’s regional tournament.

Mountain View High’s Reeya Vasishta, Los Altos High’s Caris Kim and Pinewood School’s Megan Chou – all seniors – posted 1-over-par rounds of 72 at Laguna Seca Golf Course, placing third, sixth and seventh, respectively. Kim and Chou participated in CCS as individuals; Vasishta made it there with her Mountain View team, which placed sixth out of 17 schools (top three advanced).

Only four golfers on non-qualifying teams secured berths in the Northern California championships, scheduled Monday (after the Town Crier’s deadline) at El Macero Country Club near Davis.

“I am so excited,” Kim said of making NorCal for the first time. “It’s pretty tough to get through.”

Last year Kim shot a 79 at CCS, also held at Laguna Seca, to finish 22nd.

“I didn’t go in with a lot of expectations this year,” said the Princeton University-bound senior. “I just wanted to enjoy my last year of high school golf, and that probably helped me enjoy the moment more.”

Kim added that although the course “was playing shorter than I’m normally used to, there were definitely some tricky holes.” She finished the day with two birdies.

“I struck my irons pretty close (to the green) and made some good up and downs,” Kim said. “I kept getting a bunch of birdie opportunities and felt I left a lot of them out there, but I had a real solid round and can’t complain.”

Kim has played against the other two local qualifiers at several junior tournaments over the years, noting that she’s known Chou since second grade. Chou, who has committed to Southern Methodist University, made NorCal for the third time. She was CCS runner-up last year.

“For some reason, I usually do well at CCS,” Chou said. “This year I was pretty confident, because I practiced hard and played in a tournament the week before.”

Yet she wasn’t entirely satisfied with her round, which included two birdies.

“I could have done better,” the senior said. “My drivers were kind of off. But I did well with my short irons and consistently made it close to hole for birdie opportunities, even though I didn’t make a lot of them.”

Chou said she’s known Vasishta since age 5. This marks the first year that Vasishta, who shaved 10 strokes off her 2018 CCS score, has advanced to NorCal.

“What a fantastic day of golf,” Mountain View coach Jim McGuirk said of Vasishta’s performance last week.

She bagged three birdies, one of which McGuirk witnessed on a break from working the event (CCS requires coaches to marshal, serve as a starter, etc.).

“I happened to get lucky and caught her ninth hole where she hit her approach shot from about 130 yards to 1 foot from the pin to make birdie,” he said.

McGuirk was just as proud of his team, which advanced to CCS for the first time.

“The girls all played great,” he said.

The Spartans produced a team score of 438. Three Spartans joined Vasishta with scores under 100: senior Katelyn Lee (80, tied for 33rd), sophomore Chloe Weng (88, tied for 56th) and freshman Kaitlyn Hahn (97, tied for 83rd).

St. Francis finished fourth with a team score of 413, which was 27 strokes behind third-place qualifier Harker. Seniors Doodle Yuen and Aishvarya Bedi led the Lancers, shooting 79s to tie for 27th.

Los Altos sent two golfers besides Kim to CCS as individual qualifiers: sophomore Sophie Thai (74, tied for ninth) and junior Annika Gaglani (88, tied for 56th).

The state championships are set for Nov. 19 at Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach. The top nine individuals at NorCal who are not on a qualifying team advance to state.

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