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Sports

New Format Under Fire

Times Staff Writer

The Southern Section revamped the qualifying process for the girls’ golf individual finals this season and the new system has drawn the ire of several Southland coaches.

Under the new format, each league is awarded points based on the performance of players and teams the previous year. Leagues with the most points can send four players to the section finals, those with the fewest can send only two.

This differs from past years, when each league was guaranteed two spots but could petition for three additional players. Section officials would accept or reject players based on their performances during the regular season.

The new procedure will slash by nearly 40% the number of players who qualify.

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“It’s kind of ridiculous,” Saugus Coach John Molacek said. “Our league has gotten a lot better than last year. It’ll be a shame to see a couple of girls miss out on the opportunity to play in the finals because our league was down last year.”

Under the new system, points are awarded to leagues if players or teams from that league performed well in the previous postseason. The farther a team or player from that league advanced, the more points that league receives.

“Basically, if you had a bunch of good seniors in your league last year and they graduate, you still get the points even though you have a down league this year,” Molacek said.

Last year, Minnie Choi of Fountain Valley finished fifth in the Sunset League and her petition to play in the finals was accepted. Choi tied for fifth at the section finals, but had the new rules been in place, she wouldn’t have played.

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“I shake my head sometimes at what they [Southern Section officials] do,” Huntington Beach Edison Coach Paul Harrell said. “Why can’t they just let the girls who deserve to play, play?”

Under the new format, 83 players will earn berths into the section finals. Last year, 130 played.

Dick Sebek, a member of the Southern Section golf committee and coach at Ojai Nordhoff, said eliminating the petition process eliminates subjectiveness.

“You’ve got a clearer, more exact set of rules,” Sebek said. “You won’t have people saying, ‘Why did so-and-so get in, but so-and-so didn’t?’ ”


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