Burbank High's Irene Maemura edges past Crescenta Valley's Jocelyn Chia in first Pacific League golf match

PACOIMA — During her first two seasons with the Burbank High girls’ golf team, Irene Maemura has spent time honing her skills while also learning from Crescenta Valley’s Jocelyn Chia.

A healthy rivalry, on and off the course, between the duo has also been a top story line after Chia and Maemura finished 1-2, respectively, last season in the Pacific League’s individual championship.

In search of her first league crown, Maemura got an early jump on Chia on Wednesday, as she finished with three birdies to card a three-under-par 34 in the first league match of the season at Hansen Dam Golf Course.

“I just try to go out there and learn from her whenever I can,” said Maemura, a junior and reigning All-Area selection who wasn’t grouped with Chia on Wednesday. “I don’t feel like I’m going up against her because we are friends.

“I calculated everything out there on the course and I tried to hit some good iron shots. For me to win league, it’s going to come down to making a lot of putts and keep on practicing.”

Chia, the reigning three-time All-Area Girls’ Golfer of the Year and a three-time league champion, finished with a 35 for the Falcons. Crescenta Valley placed second with a 203. Arcadia, which split the league championship with Crescenta Valley last season, posted a first-place tally of 195.

Burroughs was third with a 231, followed by La Cañada (245), San Marino (252) and Burbank (302).

Chia, who advanced to the CIF Southern Section Individual Final and Women's Southern California Golf Assn. Qualifying Tournament — the third round of individual play — for the third season in a row last year, got off to a rough start before finishing her nine-hole round on a positive note.

“It’s just about being able to go out there and stay consistent,” said Chia, who birdied the sixth through eighth holes before notching a par on the ninth hole. “My goals are to go out there and try to help us win league again and make it to state.

“It would also be great to win [the league individual champion] again.”

The Spartans, who finished third in league last season, received a 38 from Keilee Bessho.

“My chipping and pitching were a lot better,” said Bessho, a junior. “I’ve been practicing more on both parts of it and that helped me save par on a few holes.

“As a team, we are trying to move up in league. We are hoping for the best.”

Andrea Han had a 38 for Crescenta Valley, which received a 40 from Audrey Chung, 44 from Gina Chung and 46 from Alice Yoon.

Joany Gao, a reigning All-Area honoree, paced Burroughs with a 38. Stephanie Adachi had a 42 for the Indians, who got a 45 from Katrina Villareal, 51 from Raelinn Arnold and 55 from Evyn Freedman.

Also scoring for Burbank were Kaitlin Brooks (56) and Alexis Poche and Caitlin McGrath with 64s.

The next league match will take place at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday at La Cañada Country Club.

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