Sports

Gators snap up the WBAL girls golf tournament title

 
Castilleja's Niav Layton matched her teammate Kelly Yu with a round of 69 on Wednesday.

Niav Layton's impressive 1-under 69 didn't come as that much of a surprise. After all, the Castilleja golfer is the team's most consistent player and has put together an MVP-type season for the Gators.

Castilleja freshman Kelly Yu is another story all together. She didn't know she had a 69 in her until she sank her putt on the 18th hole.

"I'm usually eight or 10 over par," Yu said. "I wasn't expecting anything like that."

"It's pretty cool we both did it," Layton said.

Capping off a spectacular season in which three teams went into the final day of the regular season with a chance to finish with the best record, Castilleja reaffirmed itself as the best of the West Bay Athletic League by shooting a 374 at the league tournament Wednesday, adding the tournament championship to the regular season title and earning the league's automatic bid into next Tuesday's Central Coast Section tournament.

Among the area's four top leagues, the Gators had the lowest team score, with St. Francis and Valley Christian tying for the WCAL title with a 376 and Palo Alto shooting 379 on Tuesday, both at Santa Teresa Golf Club.

The greens at the par-71 Sunnyvale Golf Course were full of quality golfers, with Harker (winning on a tie-breaker) and Menlo School sharing rounds of 388.

Even with fewer at-large berths available, it appears likely the WBAL will have three team representatives at Laguna Seca Ranch in the Salinas Valley next week.

The full field will be announced by the CCS office late Thursday, or Friday morning at the latest.

For individual golfers like Pinewood's Megan Chou, who shot a 2-over 73, getting three WBAL teams into CCS competition, means a couple of added individual spots in the CCS. Notre Dame-Belmont's Avani Tumuluri (74) and Sacred Heart Prep's Danielle Sarkisian (84) could also benefit.

Chou surprised herself by reaching the CCS last year and actually tying for the lead after regulation. She finished third last year as part of a five-way playoff.

"I'd never been part of something like that," Chou said. "It was all good. The playoff was a lot of fun. I wanted to do better this year and I did a lot of putting drills."

Chou said her putting was much better, which included a total of 11 putts on the back nine.

Castilleja won't have to worry. It's top five golfers all finished among the top 16, quite a feat considering the competition. Harker and Menlo each had four among the top 14.

Harker's Katherine Zhu earned medalist honors with a superb round of 67.

Layton played in a group with Zhu, Chou and Menlo's Sophie Siminoff.

"It was a lot of fun," she said. "Kathryn was 5-under on the front nine. It was fun to see. I've played with her since I was a freshman."

"We all genuinely like each other," Siminoff said. "We cheer for each other and push each other."

Yu wasn't the only Gator to surprise herself. Anika Tse shot her best round, a 77, and Divya Tadimenti added a 74. Alyssa Sales shot an 85.

"This year has been crazy," Tse said. "The goal for us was to get through league and get to the CCS and NorCals. No matter what happens it's a great experience."

Gianna Inguagiato shot a 73 for Menlo, a stroke better than teammates Siminoff and Vikki Xu. Sulwen Ma added an 80 and Vivian Herr fired an 87.

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