Crescenta Valley High golf climbs back into Pacific race

ARCADIA — An already tight Pacific League girls’ golf team championship chase further intensified Wednesday afternoon at Santa Anita Golf Course.

Second-place Crescenta Valley High staked its claim for supremacy by winning the league’s fifth match over frontrunner Arcadia, 196-203, while Burroughs took third, San Marino was fourth, La Cañada was fifth and Burbank was sixth.

“I told these girls that they’re the reason why I have so many gray hairs,” Falcons Coach Lee Pope said. “Every league battle is tight and we knew that coming into this season. We knew Arcadia is always good and that’s true again this year.”

The victory was the second in league for the Falcons (29-3 overall, 22-3 in league), while Arcadia has won the other three matches and owns a 23-2 mark heading into next Wednesday’s sixth meet at Almansor Golf Course in Alhambra.

Not surprisingly, reigning All-Area Player of the Year Jocelyn Chia of Crescenta Valley led the way, carding a one-under-par 35, which was the day’s best score.

“I really didn’t start out well, but I hit a couple of good shots in the middle,” Chia said. “I like this course, but I don’t think I did that well.”

Chia was two-over through the first five holes, having bogeyed the 554-yard third hole and the 134-yard fourth hole.

Yet, the senior rallied over her final four shots in earning birdies on holes six, seven and nine.

Chia was joined by teammate Audrey Chung, who also birdied the ninth hole in finishing with a 36.

With all but three golfers in the clubhouse, it was assumed that the Falcons had defeated the Apaches, 201-203.

However, Crescenta Valley’s Laura Perez proved a pleasant surprise.

The Falcons’ normal No. 6 golfer carded a 42, and combined with Gina Chung (40) and Andrea Han (43) in representing Crescenta Valley’s scoring five.

“When you have your No. 6 girl step up like today, you know it’s a great day,” Pope said. “We had a lot of great efforts, led by Jocelyn and Audrey.”

Arcadia’s Kayla Yn tied Burbank’s Irene Maemura for third overall with a 38, while the Apaches also boasted a pair of 40s from Michelle Cheung and Adrienne Lau.

Unbeknownst to third-place Burroughs was just how tenuous its lead was.

After the final tally was reported, the Indians just outlasted hard-charging San Marino, 222-223, for the bronze.

“Honestly, we had no idea how close it was. You could see how excited we were when we found out,” said Indians freshman Katrina Villareal, whose team was sharing a box of fries with San Marino when the score was called out by Titans Coach Wyeth Collo. “We’re such a close group. This was so exciting.”

Villareal, who birdied the fourth hole, tied with teammate Joany Gao for the team lead with a 40, while Maddie Riggs finished with a 45 for Burroughs.

As for the Spartans, fifth-place La Cañada finished with 247 points.

Junior Keilee Beeshor was the top Spartan on Wednesday, finishing with a 40.

“The two-putt rule really helped me today. Putting is my strength and it takes some of the pressure off,” Beeshor said. “The course played OK today.”

Melissa Leo was second for La Cañada with a 42.

San Marino’s top golfer was Cameron McCrary, who carded a 39.

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