Palo Alto places three among top five to win girls golf title

Coach Doyle Knight (left) and the SCVAL tournament champion Palo Alto.

Palo Alto's Stephanie Yu and Gunn's Lydia Tsai have been playing golf together since they were in the seventh grade and not even playing at rival high schools have broken their bond.

They'll likely get at least one more chance to play together before their high school careers are over; at next Tuesday's Central Coast Section tournament on the Laguna Seca Ranch golf course in the Salinas Valley.

Lydia Tsai
Yu shot a 1-over 72 to place second behind Los Gatos sophomore Elizabeth Lu, who shot a 1-under 70, and lead the Vikings to the SCVAL team championship at the Santa Teresa Golf Club on Tuesday.

Tsai shot a 76 and finished ninth, probably good enough to make the CCS tournament as an individual. A full list of qualified teams and individuals will be released no later than Friday morning.

Priya Bakshi and Marina Mata finished in a three-way tie for fourth, each with a 3-over 74, for the Vikings, who posted a team score of 379, 43 strokes ahead of second-place Los Gatos.

Gunn, which finished second during the regular season, was fifth with a score of 441.

Palo Alto left little doubt it was was in charge from the opening drive. In addition to placing three among the top five, Katherine Sung turned in a 79 and Madison Pineda recorded an 80.

For Gunn, Isabella Yu turned in an 84 and Audrey Li came in with a solid 85.

Palo Alto has yet to lose a competition. The Vikings swept their 10-game league schedule and won the Helen Lengfeld tournament in early September by a single stroke over St. Francis, the three-time defending CCS champions.

Palo Alto finished second behind the Lancers at last year's CCS tournament.

Yu, who has given a verbal commitment to Pomona-Pitzer though "nothing has been set yet," won last year's individual title in a five-way playoff.

"Last year I went to CCS without any expectation than to do my best," Yuy said. "Now that I won, I know I have the capability. I plan to stay calm. At the end of the day, if I know I played well it doesn't matter if I win or lose."

Yu said she was a bit nervous the first few holes on Tuesday but then settled in.

"I didn't play well at the beginning," she said. "I warmed up as the weather got hotter. I'm happy with the way I played because I haven't been able to to get out on the course with trying to get all the college applications completed."

Yu shot a 1-under on the back nine to reconcile her 2-over on the front nine.

Tsai was the opposite. She started strong but faded a little bit as the temperature rose. She recorded a double bogey on the 17th hole but then shot par on the 18th to finish on a high note.

"I'm really proud of the team," Tsai said. "They worked so hard this year. I wish the team made it because if would have been so much and a nice payoff for the hard work."

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