Girls Golf: St. Ignatius just misses state championship for third consecutive year

By Jeremy Balan

The St. Ignatius High School girls’ golf team continued many streaks this year — winning its fourth consecutive West Catholic Athletic League title and third consecutive CIF-Central Coast Section title — but it was a streak of heartbreak that continued at the NorCal championships on Monday at Stockton Country Club.

Needing a third-place finish to advance to the state tournament in Rancho Cucamonga, the Wildcats had with a team score of 446, finishing fourth for the third consecutive year, just three strokes behind third-place finisher Amador Valley.

Junior Alexandra Wong, St. Ignatius’ top finisher, also came agonizingly close to an individual state championship tournament bid, finishing one stroke behind the last qualifier with an 8-over 80. Alexandra’s twin sister, Andrea, finished with a 9-over 81.

“It was a tough, tough day,” said St. Ignatius head coach Julius Yap. “They’re really upset because they all had a big hole and a couple of them had a few big holes. Whenever there is a close difference like that, you kill yourself looking back at each round.”

Academic Athletic Association champion Lowell also competed in the tournament and finished 12th with a team score of 615.

“It’s great to be in this tournament,” said Lowell head coach Mitch Wagner. “They’re in the company of elite golfers, and that’s not lost on them at all.”

The Cardinals were led by senior Chae Kim, who finished tied for 28th individually with a 19-over 91.

“She’s been stellar all year long and she goes out and battles on every shot,” Wagner said of Kim. “She’s one of four seniors who have been here all four years. It’s tough to see them go.”

The biggest obstacle for all the teams was a soggy golf course that was pounded by rain on Sunday. The wet conditions limited driving distance off the tee and extended approach shots, and 36 of the 89 competitors shot at 100 or higher.

“The course just got up and bit us,” Yap said. “It was wet and played really long, so if you got into a little bit of trouble, it was tough to get back. Given the amount of rain yesterday, we were wondering if we were even going to be able to play today.”

Alameda took first place in the team competition with a combined score of 419, St. Francis of Sacramento finished second and Amador Valley finished third. CCS individual champion Hannah Suh of Evergreen Valley won her second consecutive NorCal title with a 1-over 73 and AAA individual champion Kristi Wong finished 61st.

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