CdM pair among O.C. group to qualify for state tournament


JURUPA VALLEY – The drought came to an end Thursday though there wasn’t a cloud in sight on a sun-drenched day at Goose Creek Golf Club.

Two Corona del Mar players earned a place in the CIF State Championship, and before Thursday, the Sea Kings hadn’t sent a golfer to the prestigious high school tournament.

Amy Matsuoka and Alyaa Abdulghany had the history-making rounds that earned each of them a tee time Tuesday at Poppy Hills in Pebble Beach. Matsuoka placed second in Thursday’s WSCGA Southern State Regional with a 3-under-par 68. Abdulghany finished in a tie for sixth with a 71.

“They play their heart out for their school,” Corona del Mar coach Mike Starkweather said. “They are no doubt the two best girls that I have ever had.”

Matsuoka hit every fairway and 17 of 18 greens as she carded four birdies. Until Mira Costa’s Andrea Lee posted a tournament-winning 7-under 64, Matsuoka was the leader in the clubhouse.

“It makes me feel pretty proud, knowing that I will get to represent CdM at state,” Matsuoka said.

University’s Ellen Takada (70), Foothill’s Madie Chou (72) and Woodbridge’s Yuki Yoshihara (72) also made the cut for the state tournament. None of the five Orange County players who qualified for state has played in the tournament before.

As seniors, Chou and Takada were down to their last chance to make it to state. Takada’s score put her inside the top 5 and well clear of the cutline. But there were some anxious moments for Chou.

“Although I didn’t win, I still feel pretty good,” Takada said. “All I wanted to do was make it.”

Chou went out of bounds on the par-5 No. 12, and after watching a 2-foot par putt lip out on No. 16, Chou was 2 over with two holes to play. Her approach on the 17th landed 5 feet from the pin and she drained her birdie putt to avoid being in a playoff for the one remaining spot in the state tournament.

“I have been trying to do it for four years, so to do it in my senior year is special,” Chou said.

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