For the first time in program history, the West Ranch High girls golf team succeeded in making it to the second round of the CIF team playoffs.
The Wildcats placed third out of 24 teams at the CIF-Southern Section Central Division championship at Los Serranos Country Club in Chino Hills on Monday.
“I’m just really proud of my team, and I’m really proud that I got to play in this tournament with my teammates,” said senior Adelrina Kim.
Diamond Bar and Palm Desert, who carded 367 and 404, respectively, finished ahead of West Ranch, whose final score was 411.
Valencia High finished in 13th place in the contest.
Mack Bailey led the Cats with a 2-over-76. Ashley Mayhall finished with a 4-over, followed by Noelle Song with a 10-over, Kim with a 12-over and Stephanie Kang with a 14-over.
Last year, West Ranch didn’t survive the first round. Its fourth-place finish wasn’t enough, since only the top three teams move on to the second round. The difference, according to Kim, is team dynamic.
“We had a stronger bond this year,” she said. “And we all knew our strengths and weaknesses and we came back with better players, a better attitude and a better game.”
According to Coach Jeff Holen, the team was closing in on a runner-up performance, but a few unnecessary strokes bumped them down to third.
“It’s the short game,” he said. “It comes down to what you do around the greens that will make or break you. We head back out to Chino Hills tomorrow and that’s one thing we’re going to work on.”
Kim admitted that she took some regrettable shots as the match came to a close and that staying focused will help her lower her score.
However, the duration of the 18-hole course played no factor in her performance.
“There’s not much of a difference (between nine and 18 holes),” she said. “It’s just longer and we have to wake up at 4 a.m.”
Their next match will be the CIF Southern Section/WSCGA team qualifier, which takes place Thursday at Western Hills Country Club in Chino Hills.
The match serves as both a team and individual qualifier for the state championships. Bailey and Mayhall will be competing not just for the team to move on, but also for themselves to move on in the individual event.
The top four teams and top 28 players will advance.