BURBANK HIGH -- Grace Woo doesn’t have to try to be a role model.
Much like her athletic ability as a girls’ golfer at Burbank High,
it just comes naturally.
With a friendly demeanor and an unassuming nature, it is not like
Woo to lobby or push to be a team leader. However, with a steady game
and a great deal of talent, the rest of the Bulldog players seem to
gravitate to the junior.
“I like being a kind of role model and all,” Woo said. “But I also
think it comes with a lot of pressure. If I have players looking up
to me, I feel I always have to play my best and do [well] all the
First-year Burbank Coach Jackie Friedman said because the Bulldogs
have a small team -- just five players -- they have become a very
close-knit group. The team is also young, and the players look to Woo
“I think the players really look up to and respect Grace,”
Friedman said. “They see what she can do, and how well she plays, and
they appreciate her ability.”
Things have changed a lot for Woo since her freshman season. As a
first-year player, Woo was mentored and helped along by senior
standout Moah Chang. Under Chang’s guidance, Woo was able to learn
the ropes of high school girls’ golf.
Chang has been Burbank’s most successful golfer, as she qualified
for CIF Southern Section competition three times.
After graduating in 2002, Chang has gone on to success at the
collegiate level. Playing for Mount San Antonio College in Walnut,
she helped the team to an undefeated (13-0) season last year. Mount
SAC also captured a South Coast Conference championship, a Southern
California Regional title and a California State Community College
Women’s Golf Championship.
With her own aspirations of playing in college, Woo said she would
like to compete for the UCLA women’s team.
“To play for UCLA is my dream,” Woo said. “That would mean so much
“I’m just hoping that I can get a scholarship to play in college.”
Just as Woo had someone to look up to as a freshman, this season’s
crop of Bulldog players have had lot to emulate in Woo. The junior
has been able to win her share of league and nonleague matches.
Woo has enjoyed the most success in Foothill League play, as she
captured three of four league matches leading up to Monday’s
preliminaries at Woodley Lakes Golf Course in Van Nuys.
In the prelims, Woo finished two shots behind Saugus’ Melanie
DeLeon, who fired a two-under-par 35.
Despite finishing second in the event, Woo was named Co-Foothill
League Most Valuable Player with DeLeon. It is Woo’s second MVP
honor, also earning the award as a freshman.
Wednesday, Woo will compete in the league finals at Woodley Lakes,
and barring a total collapse, should qualify for the CIF Southern
Section Individual Golf Championship on Nov. 20 at Mission Lakes Golf
Course in Desert Hot Springs.
If she does well in that event, Woo would find herself in the
prestigious 2003 CIF-Women’s Southern California Golf Assn.
tournament Nov. 24 at the Champions Course at the PGA of Southern
California Golf Club in Calimesa. A fine finish in that event would
earn her a berth in the in the state tournament on Nov. 25 at the
“I want to do well in the [Southern Section] tournament,” Woo
said. “Well, let me change that. I have to stay positive. I want to
win that tournament.
“I know there will be a lot of very good players at the
tournament, but I just have to go out and do the best that I can.”
Being a fierce competitor is something that is part of who Woo is.
With an overwhelming desire to succeed and a will to win, Woo admits
she can sometimes be hard on herself.
A case in point was the first league match Oct. 7 at Vista
Valencia Golf Course. Wanting to begin league competition with a
winning performance, Woo was disappointed when she finished second
“I was not happy with that,” Woo said. “I was very disappointed in
myself and I think I should have played better.
“I knew after that [match], I was going to have to do better.”
She did just that, as Woo won low-medalist honors at the next
three league matches -- two at Burbank’s home course of El Cariso
Golf Course in Sylmar and one at Vista Valencia.
“I think not finishing first in that first league match really
motivated Grace,” Friedman said. “She just wants to win all the
Woo’s chance to improve on her fine freshman season in 2001 was
curtailed last year when she was sidelined with a wrist injury.
Unable to compete for the Bulldog team, Woo took some time off to
recover from severe tendinitis.
“It was hard not playing for the team,” she said. “I wanted to be
out there playing, but I was hurt.”
Competing in the sport since she was 8, Woo is a seasoned
competitor on the Southern California, as well as national, youth
Last summer, Woo traveled around the nation taking part in
American Junior Golf Assn. tournaments. In July, she qualified for
the U.S. Girls’ Junior at Brooklawn Country Club in Fairfield, Conn.
The field included 156 competitors, including 13-year-old
sensation Michelle Wie from Hawaii.
Woo said competing in tournaments against the best young players
in the country can sometimes be nerve-wracking.
“I get a little nervous some times,” she said. “But I just try and
stay focused and concentrate on my game. That’s all I can do.”
Later this month, Woo is headed to Florida to compete in the AJGA
Polo Golf Junior Classic at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena
“It’s nice to travel around the country and go to all the
different tournaments,” Woo said. “I also like competing against the
If she keeps on playing well, Woo could find herself competing
against the best the sport has to offer in coming years.
But first, her focus is solely on today’s league final, and
avenging her two-stroke loss to Saugus’ DeLeon in the prelims. By
doing so, Woo will continue to lead by example.