Chia rules at Oakmont

NORTHEAST GLENDALE — Though she had never before played at Oakmont Country Club, Jocelyn Chia was undaunted in her approach.

By the time Chia completed her 18-hole round during the local qualifying tournament of the Trusted Choice Big I Junior Classic on Tuesday afternoon, one might have had a difficult time believing she hadn't played at the 89-year-old venue.

Chia came through in her first test at the fabled course, as she fired a three-under-par 70 to win the girls' division of the event.

Chia was one of nine total competitors from the field of 27 to advance to the 36-hole state tournament, which will be held July 7-8 at De Laveaga Golf Course in Santa Cruz. The championship will take place Aug. 1-4 at Reunion Golf & Country Club in Madison, Miss.

"I did the best I could for having not played the course," said Chia, a member of the Crescenta Valley High girls' golf team and the reigning All-Area Girls' Golfer of the Year. "I had seven birdies and wanted to play things safe.

"I didn't want to do anything crazy. My approach shots were pretty accurate and my iron shots were strong. I felt pretty confident. I'm pretty sure I can do well [at the state qualifier]."

Joining Chia on the girls' side were qualifiers Jennifer Kim of La Cañada Flintridge (79), Monica Petchakan of Encino (79) and Audrey Chung of La Crescenta (81).

Robin Jang of Los Angeles shot a one-over-par 74 to win the boys' portion of the match. Among other boys' athletes to move on were Connor Brown (75), Glendale resident Joel Yoo (77), St. Francis High graduate Richie Maloof (78) and La Crescenta's Adrian Chia (78), the older brother of Jocelyn and a member of the Crescenta Valley boys' golf team.

Yoo, who attends Village Christian, relied on a solid short game.

"I was making some 12-footers for pars and I hit some great shots," said Yoo, who triple-bogeyed the 12th hole before registering a birdie or par throughout the remainder of his round. "I wanted to bounce back after the 12th hole and I settled down."

Maloof said he battled some inconsistencies throughout his round before regrouping.

"I was off on some of my distance shots, but still had five birdies," said the Glendale Community College-bound Maloof, who finished third at the Mission League individual final this season for St. Francis. "My driver was great and my short game was good.

"I'll try to at least shoot even in the next round and the goal is always to move on."

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