Beckman tops Corona del Mar to clinch third PCL championship in a row

TUSTIN – Motivation can come from many different places.

The Beckman girls golf team found their inspiration in four strokes in a CIF tournament that happened almost one year ago. That’s how much stood between the Patriots and making the cut and keeping their playoff dreams alive.    

“They don’t think about it in a negative way. They viewed it as we have more work to do,” first-year Beckman coach Cheyne Blair said. “That is a healthy outlook. Sometimes you need to improve.”

And it appears Beckman has done just that. Four of the Patriots’ five scoring players finished in the 30s on Friday at Tustin Ranch Golf Club, and Beckman clinched its third consecutive Pacific Coast League championship with a 185-197 victory against Corona del Mar.

When the result was official, the Patriots celebrated with several group hugs and a boisterous chant, the kind which is rarely seen at a high school golf match.

“It is always a big deal to win league. You always want to go out and win your league because that is the first step,” Cheyne said. “We talked about that at the beginning of the year. But they know their work isn’t done yet.”

It’s the third time in the last four matches that the Patriots (9-1, 9-1) have posted a 185. Two of those rounds came at Tustin Ranch, the Patriots’ home course. The other was posted at Strawberry Farms Golf Course. All three scores meant the Patriots finished 5 over par as a team.

“While we may not go out and shoot 32 every time,” Blair said, “top to bottom, they are all strong.”

This time it was Cameron Lee who led the Patriots. She birdied three holes in her bogey-free round to post a 3-under-par 33 on the front nine to lower her scoring average to 34 and earn medalist honors in the season finale.

“I have definitely become more consistent this year,” Lee said. “I have been working hard on all elements of my game, especially my short game, and I think that’s what really helped.”

Nadia Susanto added a 36 while Priscilla Ki and Hannah Lee both carded a 37 for Beckman. The 37 was the highest score that Ki has posted this season.

“We worked really hard all season for this. We knew that it would come down to this one match,” Lee said. “We were well prepared (for this match). We all practiced very hard the past couple of weeks, but maybe we were a little nervous.”

Beckman had reason to be a bit tense. Corona del Mar (13-4, 8-2) handed the Patriots their only loss this season. And a loss again on Friday would have made the Sea Kings the champions.

“We knew that if we won league, we would have the confidence to keep going in CIF,” Lee said, “and that has been our goal to get past where we got cut last year.”

Amy Matsuoka led the Sea Kings on Friday, shooting a 1-under-par 35 while her teammate Alyaa Abdulghany came in with a 37.

“The bottom line is we wanted to be here and be competitive, and do the best that we could,” Corona del Mar coach Mike Starkweather said. “It is hard to imagine any team deeper than this one. All this league stuff is over. Now, we have to focus on the real game (CIF). I told them what really counts is what happens in the weeks that follow.”

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