By Jeremy Balan
The biggest rivalry in Academic Athletic Association girls golf isn’t between two teams.
It’s between two players, and they share the same last name.
Sisters Shannon and Kristi Wong of Lincoln High School have been the best two individual AAA players for the past two seasons, and led the Mustangs to an undefeated league season this year, capped by a 192-244 win over Wallenberg on Monday at Golden Gate Park Golf Course.
The sisters each shot a match-low 6-over 33 in the nine-hole match, leading the Mustangs (6-0) to their first sub-200 team score of the season.
“It’s a beginner league, so because we have two girls that are so far beyond the others, it’s been pretty easy in a sense,” said Lincoln head coach Steve Robinson. “This is a great beginning team. We have a lot of freshmen, and they haven’t played [prior to this year], but they have a really good spirit.”
The Mustangs are the favorites to take the team title in the playoffs, but the most intriguing matchup will be between the two sisters, who will vie for the individual championship on Oct. 31 at Lincoln Park.
“It’s a huge rivalry,” Robinson said. “There’s tears on the course sometimes. They’re very competitive, but they’re both good kids.”
Two years ago, Shannon, now a senior, won the tournament with a 7-over 75. Then last year, Kristi, now a junior, beat her older sister by two strokes with a 79 to clinch the championship.
“It’s kind of weird because my sister won, then I won last year,” Kristi said. “We go against each other a lot, so there’s a little bit of a rivalry.”
The Mustangs semifinal team matchup will be a rematch with Wallenberg, which got a team-low 41 from senior Emily Ye Sung on Monday.
The Bulldogs (3-3) finished in fourth place for the third year in a row, on the strength of a 223-233 win over fifth-place Galileo on Oct. 7.
“It’s always a turning point with the match against Galileo,” said Wallenberg head coach George Imperial. “We have a unique situation where we have all seniors and all [freshmen], and I was really proud of them, seeing them improve from where we were at [in our opening match] at 277 to score a 223 to make it to the playoffs.”
With so many first-time golfers, both coaches stressed improvement, especially in a league so strongly focused on developing skills.
“Our girls have improved a bit, but it’s a slow process,” Robinson said. “It’s hard and it’s frustrating sometimes, but they really enjoy it and they have a lot of fun.”