Kennedy's Kim finishes in top five at CIF-SS Girls Golf Championship


CHINO HILLS – After almost every match that Irene Kim plays, Kennedy girls golf coach John Teutimez likes to send out an email to the teachers at the school, giving them an update on how the Fighting Irish’s star player is doing.

He doesn’t know if his colleagues read them or even notice them in their inbox, but he keeps the emails coming nonetheless because what she is doing is “too big of a deal” not to get the word out, he said.

She is doing things on the course that no other Fighting Irish golfer has ever come close to accomplishing.

On Thursday at Western Hills Golf Course, the Kennedy sophomore became the first player in school history to place in the top five at the CIF-SS Individual Championship after shooting 1-under-par 71. The result also gave her a tee time in the WSCGA Southern California Regional championship for the second year in a row. That tournament on Nov.10 at Arrowhead Country Club in San Bernardino helps set the field for the CIF State Championship.

“Golf is a tough sport. It is not easy to play, and there are a lot of great golfers here,” Teutimez said. “She has a great personality for the game of golf. She is very consistent on the course and has this way of blocking out all of the distractions and focuses on what she needs to.”

Only four players in the field posted a sub-par round. Walnut sophomore Abigail Wiranatha was one of them, tying for third with Kim after shooting a 71. CIF officials gave Kim and Wiranatha the option of competing in a sudden-death playoff or using a a card-off to break the tie. They chose the latter and Wiranatha was awarded third. Her back nine score beat Kim’s, 35-37.

Elizabeth Wang (San Marino) won with a 4-under-par 68. La Serna sophomore Briana Chacon placed second after firing a 69.  

Kim birdied two holes at Western Hills on Thursday, her final one coming on the par-4 No. 3 after she put her approach 10 feet from the pin.

 “I think I played good. I think I played well,” she said. “I also have a little regret with my irons. I could have had more birdies chances, but I lost it with my irons.”

She played most of her round in a strong, gusting wind, and that along with some of the steep up and down hill slopes leading to the greens made it difficult for her to dial in her distances.

“I didn’t know which club use,” Kim said. “And then, I wasn’t too accurate.”

Yet she shaved five strokes off last year’s score. The 76 she posted in 2015, left her one stroke clear of the WSCGA cutline.  This season, an 80 was good enough to advance.

Rosary senior Caroline Cantlay also showed some improvement on Thursday. Last fall, she tied for 14th with a 75. On Thursday she carded a 74 to finish in a tie for fifth.

“I am really happy with the way that I played. It was tough out there with the wind,” Cantlay said. “My goal is always to win, but really this win won’t mean anything next week, so all I was trying to do is qualify, and I did that.”

This tournament also served as a team qualifier for the WSCGA Southern California Regional, and Troy earned the fourth and final spot at Arrowhead Country Club after carding a 408. Sherilyn Villanueva and Beth Lillie led the Warriors, posting a 77 and 79, respectively.

Diamond Bar (388), Walnut (390) and La Serna (397) also advanced.

“It is amazing because of the score. I thought if it was over 400, we wouldn’t be moving on,” Cowgill said. “I am elated.”



CIF-SS Individual Championship

At Western Hills Country Club, Chino Hills, par 72

1. Elizabeth Wang (San Marino) 68, 2. Briana Chacon (La Serna) 69, 3. Abigail Wiranatha (Walnut) 71*, 4. Irene Kim (Kennedy) 71, 5t. Caroline Cantlay (Rosary) 74, 5t. Vera Markevich (Xavier Prep) 74, 5t. Kailie Vongsaga (Diamond Bar) 74, 5t. Ashley Kim (Mira Costa) 74, 9t. Haylee McGovern (La Reina) 75, 9t. Mary Shin (Sage Hill) 75, 9t. Hannah Ko (Sunny Hills) 75, 12t. Emily Sumner (Foothill) 76, 12t. Yuki Yoshihara (Woodbridge) 76, 14t. Cameron Lee (Beckman) 77, 14t. Christine Perez (Cypress) 77, 14t. Jade Siphomsay (Los Osos) 77, 14t. Sherilyn Villanueva (Troy) 77, 14t. Anabelle Chang (Walnut) 77, 14t. Mack Bailey (West Ranch) 77, 20t. Katie Villegas (Arcadia) 78, 20t. Leila Dizon (Marlborough) 78, 20t. Nicole Suppelsa (Peninsula) 78, 20t. Ashleigh Park (Sage Hill) 78, 20t. Ada Wong (San Marino) 78, 20t. Kristen Kim (Sonora) 78, 20t. Brittany Park (Valencia) 78, 27t. Gabby Lewis (Arcadia) 79, 27t. Joan Sowewondo (Dana Hills) 79, 27t. Taylor Ornelas (La Serna) 79, 27t. Madison Wood (Newbury Park) 79, 27t. Alexa Melton (South Hills) 79, 27t. Hailey Borja (Trabuco Hills) 79, 27t. Beth Lillie (Troy) 79, 27t. Casey Syal (Peninsula) 79, 35. Kristen Chen (Westlake) 80**

*-card-off, **-playoff

WSCGA Southern California Regional Team Qualifying Results

1. Diamond Bar 388, 2. Walnut 390, 3. La Serna 397, 4. Troy 408, 5t. Beckman 410, 5t. Westlake 410, 7t. University 421, 7t. San Marino 421, 9.  Mira Costa 422, 10. Sonora 437, 11. West Ranch 439, 12. Palm Desert 440

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