For the second time in three seasons, Pinewood School’s Megan Chou lost in a playoff at the Central Coast Section girls golf championships. But just like in 2016, Chou didn’t let it ruin her day in Monterey.
The unassuming junior – defeated by Castilleja’s Niav Layton on the first playoff hole – was pleasantly surprised to make it that far after an up-and-down round Oct. 30 at Laguna Seca Golf Ranch.
“I didn’t expect to do that well, because I had some bogeys,” said Chou, whose even-par 72 included six birdies and four bogeys. “I was playing against a friend (in the playoff), and it was great fun. I didn’t win, but it’s OK – I’m still going to NorCal.”
Chou’s second-place standing put her in elite company – as one of only four participants not on a qualifying team to earn an invitation to Woodbridge Golf & Country Club for Monday’s Northern California championships (played as the Town Crier went to press).
“I’m really excited, especially since I didn’t go last year,” said Chou, who shot an 84 a year ago to tie for 44th at CCS. “I hope to do well.”
Based on Chou’s experience, doing so would likely require getting off to a fast start.
“When I birdie the first hole, I usually have a pretty good round,” she said.
That’s exactly what Chou did last week at CCS. Her second shot landed 3 feet from the hole – which she deemed her best drive of the day – setting up an easy putt for a birdie.
Chou was 1-under par at the turn, but the Los Altos resident picked up two strokes on the back nine.
“The back nine was really tough,” she said. “The greens were really funky.”
The playoff hole also proved challenging. After escaping one hazard, Chou soon found herself in another.
“I was hitting from Bermuda grass, which we don’t have around here, and my club went under the ball and I hit it into a bunker,” she said.
Layton buried a putt from approximately 10 feet to win the title.
Eagles’ historic year ends
Although it wasn’t the way Los Altos wanted to end its season – a ninth-place finish at CCS – just getting there was a milestone for the third-year program.
“I was so excited our team made it to CCS,” senior Maddie Jun said. “Making CCS and league finals for the first time was really cool.”
Jun added that the Eagles have come a long way since 2016, when the squad had only five players. Now nine strong, Los Altos went undefeated in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League El Camino Division this season and placed second at the league finals to De Anza Division champ Palo Alto, which also won CCS.
“We were much better than last year,” said Jun, who recently committed to UC Davis. “I think it helped that we had a lot more team bonding sessions, like going to Yogurtland together, and everyone looked forward to practice.”
The Eagles hoped to practice for at least another week by qualifying for NorCal, but they didn’t have their best day at CCS.
“We didn’t play as well as we wanted,” Los Altos coach Rich Fujii said. “Laguna Seca is a tricky course. You can’t really overpower this course. To play well, you need to hit the ball in scoring positions or you will be penalized.”
The Eagles shot 456, putting them 64 strokes back of Valley Christian, which secured the third and final berth in NorCal. Freshman Sophie Thai and junior Caris Kim led Los Altos by tying for 22nd with rounds of 79. Jun was next with an 84, tying for 41st.
“We were all a bit disappointed,” Jun said, “because we definitely can do better.”
But like Jun, Fujii focused more on the positives of just being part of the CCS event.
“It was a tough day overall for most squads, but it was a great learning experience for our younger players,” he said. “To qualify as a team in our third year of competition, I’m proud of the season we had.”
MV golfers place in 30s
Mountain View sent two players to CCS after the Spartans placed sixth as a team at the SCVAL finals.
Freshman Chloe Weng shot an 80 to tie for 30th; junior Reeya Vasishta, who qualified for the third time, recorded an 82 to tie for 35th.
St. Francis misses cut
For the first time in six years, St. Francis failed to make NorCal. The Lancers finished fourth at CCS with a 413, putting them 21 strokes behind league foe Valley Christian.
Aishvarya Bedi paced St. Francis with a 76, tying for ninth.