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Troy's Beth Lillie wins CIF State championship
RANCHO CUCMONGA – Beth Lillie set a goal for herself this season, and the Troy senior couldn’t have done a better job of reaching it.
Too often during her varsity career, Lillie played her best in the Warriors’ opening matches, only to fall a bit flat when the CIF-SS tournaments began.
This fall, she set out to peak when it mattered most.
After all of her close calls and near misses, Lillie said for once, she “timed it well.”
During the past week, no girl in California has played better golf than Lillie, and she has got two first-place trophies and a place in history to prove it.
Lillie posted a bogey-free 4-under-par 70 on Tuesday at Red Hill Country Club to win the CIF State Championship by one stroke, becoming the first player to finish first at both state and the WSCGA So Cal Regional Championship in the same season since 2003.
Crystal Wang (Diamond Bar) and Briana Chacon (La Serna) tied for second at 3-under-par 71.
“This just shows you what kind of player she is and the control she has over her nerves,” Troy coach Jerry Cowgill said. “It is an amazing accomplishment.”
This is the second year in a row a county player has won the girls state title. Last year, Corona del Mar’s Alyaa Abdulghany won it at Poppy Hills Golf Course.
Lillie was a combined 11-under par during her two-match win streak, which included a 7-under-par 65 to win the regional Thursday at Arrowhead Country Club.
The Warriors also competed for the CIF State team championship Tuesday, but they came up two strokes short of the title. Walnut edged Troy, 394-396.
“This feels really good," Lillie said. "It is fun to win my last high school tournament and be here with my team and have the team do really well even though we didn’t win. I am super happy, and I had a bunch of fun out there.”
Red Hill played to Lillie’s strength. She can smash the ball down the fairway off the tee, and she consistently outdrives the players in her group.
Lillie was 3-under on the course's five par-5s.
“You have to be a good ball striker to play this course,” Lillie said. “The holes are long, and there are par-5s you can attack in two, so yeah, I definitely tried to take advantage of the par-5s.”
Two of Lillie’s teammates also finished the 70s at Red Hill. Sherilyn Villanueva shot a 78 while Isabel Sy added a 79 to help Troy become one of only two teams in the state championship field to break 400.
“I have always looked at the teams that get here as being a little better than us,” Cowgill said. “But we got hot at the right time”
This is the fourth time this postseason that Troy and Walnut have played in the same tournament, and in two of them the Warriors topped the Mustangs. Troy’s most recent triumph came at the So Cal Championships last Thursday.
“The run,” Cowgill said, “was just amazing.”
Irene Kim turned in some impressive postseason results for Kennedy, too, ending the season with a sixth-place finish at the CIF State Championship by shooting a 1-over-par 75.
Kim was even par when she teed off the ninth, but made the turn at 1-over after her 35-foot birdie putt on the par-4 ninth raced past the hole and off the green. She carded a bogey five.
“I felt like I could have done better. There are some shot and putts that I missed that could have gone in,” said Kim, who finished in the top 10 in all four of her postseason tournaments. “But overall, it (playing in state) was great.”
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