Sage Hill's Shin surprised with second-place finish in CIF-SS regional


ANAHEIM - When Mary Shin walked up to the clubhouse on Tuesday at Dad Miller Golf Course, the Sage Hill junior was shocked.

She didn’t expect to be in such a good position on the leaderboard.

Shin said she was confident her 1-under-par 70 would be good enough to make the cut at the CIF-SS Southern Individual Regional, so she could avoid having to suffer through another stress-filled afternoon waiting to see if she’d make it to the Southern Section championship tournament at Western Hills Country Club.

Never, though, did she think that her score would be good enough to contend for the win.

But there it was in red and white. Her 70 put her in a first-place tie with Diamond Bar freshman Angelica Kusnowo. Kusnowo, though, claimed the Southern Regional championship on a card-off.  Her 35 on the back nine beat Shin by one stroke.

 “I can’t believe this. I am very happy got a medal,” Shin said after placing second. “The last couple years, I barely made it out of Dad Miller, so this year being safe in there, it gives me a lot of confidence.”

Shin shaved five strokes off last year’s score in the regional. She posted a 75, which was just good enough to avoid falling into an 11-player playoff to earn the final five tee times at Western Hills.  

Her improvement this year, she said, came down to her putting.

“I didn’t have any three putts,” she said.

Rosary senior Carloine Cantlay and Kennedy sophomore Irene Kim each posted an even-par 71, but Cantlay was awarded third place on a card-off.

“I played pretty good … all right,” Cantlay said. “I am excited. I felt pretty good today. I felt a lot more like myself than when I played in the league championship last week, so I think I can keep playing well this week and the week after.”

Out of the 144 players who teed off Tuesday, Kusnowo and Shin were the only ones to come in under par. Compare that to last year when five girls finished in the 60s and Diamond Bar’s Kailie Vongsaga won with a 68.

Dad Miller was playing a bit tougher than usual, Shin said, because the greens and fairways were still quite soggy due to Sunday’s storm, and the course took its toll on one of the top junior players in the nation.

Corona del Mar senior Alyaa Abdulghnay, the defending CIF State champion who recently represented the United States in the Junior Ryder Cup, posted a 7-over-par 78 and missed making the cut, which was 76.

She was in position to move onto Western Hills with five holes to go, but she hit her tee shot on the par-four 14th out of bounds and watched her lay up on the par-five 15th land in the water. She bogeyed both holes.  

Her postseason is not over, though. On Monday she will be in the Sea Kings’ lineup at Lakewood Country Club during the CIF-SS Southern Team Divisional.

“It was one of those days, and everyone is going to have one of those days,” she said. “It is a little disappointing, but I am Ok with it. I am going to have to keep working on some stuff.” 

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