OXNARD — Melissa Leo arrived at River Ridge Golf Club's Vineyard Course on Tuesday with no pressure.
With the wind howling, the La Cañada High girls' golfer came into the Pacific League individual final looking to record a top-eight finish and advance to the postseason. Her course management and calm demeanor helped her net a fine result.
Leo finished with three birdies and shot a two-over-par 74 to place second in the 18-hole event.
“I wanted to come out here and play my best,” said Leo, who was one of eight from the field of 18 to advance to the CIF Southern Section Individual Regional on Oct. 28 at River Ridge. “I knew I had to embrace the positives and play with confidence.
“I'm happy with my round overall, even though my putting wasn't that great. The par-fives were good for me and I hit a lot of greens”
Leo birdied the first, 12th and 14th holes to finish runner-up to Arcadia Kayla Yn, who fired a 71 to wrap up her first league championship. Crescenta Valley's Jocelyn Chia shot a 77 and saw her string of three straight league titles come to a close. Burbank's Irene Maemura registered a 75 to take third. The top eight advanced to the postseason.
Chia, a three-time All-Area Girls' Golfer of the Year, said she wasn't concerned about seeing her elongated stretch of league dominance come to a close.
“I tried my best, but it just wasn't my day,” said Chia, who finished fourth. “It's not a big deal not being able to repeat. I still get to move on.”
Also advancing to the individual postseason were Andrea Han of Crescenta Valley (78), Michelle Cheung of Arcadia (79), Joany Gao of Burroughs (79) and Cameron McCray of San Marino (80).
Burbank Coach Branko Sevic said Maemura continues to flourish with the postseason on the horizon.
“I think she feels good about the way she's been playing,” Sevic said. “She's been hitting the ball great of late.
“A top eight finish is good for her. The conditions were tough, especially in the beginning of the round with it being very windy. I like the way she played.”
Gao was edged by Cheung in a card-off on the par-four 17th hole. Each parred the par-three 18th hole, but Cheung had a birdie on the 17th, while Gao finished with a par.
Gao said she entered the round looking to break 80.
“I played the best I could,” Gao said. “My game was a little off today.
“I've played here before and had better scores. I have another chance next time. My putting will need to get a little better. The greens here are huge.”
Also scoring for Crescenta Valley were Audrey Chung (10th, 82) and Gina Chung (18th, 99). La Cañada got a 13th-place effort from Keilee Bessho, who had an 87. Burroughs received an 86 from Stephanie Adachi (12th) and a 98 from Katrina Villareal (98).
Arcadia, Crescenta Valley and Burroughs will participate in the CIF Team Divisional, which will be held Oct. 31 in Riverside County. Arcadia, Crescenta Valley and Burroughs finished first, second and third, respectively.