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Mater Dei finally advances to WSCGA tournament
TEMECULA – Three future Division 1 golfers were on Mater Dei’s roster in 2006, and they couldn’t do it. Neither could the Monarchs’ 2010 undfeated team.
It takes low scores - and a lot of them - to make it to the WSCGA So Cal Championships.
“That is a real challenge,” Mater Dei coach Ollie Martin said. “You take a look at some of your teams and you get beyond your first three, and sometimes you don’t have players that can come up with an even-par round. But I told you this year’s team was very deep. We have so many players that can shoot good scores.”
On Monday, at The Legends Golf Course, they made school history. After playing just one practice round on the 5,500-yard course, Mater Dei saw one of its players finish in the 60s and three others post a round in the 70s as the Monarchs advanced to the regional championship tournament for the first time.
Mater Dei finished second in the 16-team field with a 378, two strokes behind first-place Vista Murrieta. Palm Desert (379) Diamond Bar (381) earned final two spots in the CIF State Championship qualifying tournament which will be be held on Nov. 8 in Murrieta.
Monday’s tournament used to be the Southern Section Team Championship, but that changed this year and instead it was used as an event to help set the field for the WSCGA tournament. It is not longer considered an official CIF championship.
“This tournament has never been about winning it. It has been about surviving and getting on to the next round,” Martin said. “That was our goal to finish in the top four here and get into the first roud of state because we are trying to go after a state championship.”
For senior Marcella Pranovia the chance to move on “means everything.”
“Out there on the course, I was thinking about my teammates,” she said. “I was hoping that we could go (to the state qualifier). I wanted them to do well. I knew I was doing OK.”
She was much better than that, actually. She had a chance to finish 6-under-par on the par-5 18th, but her 10-foot eagle putt missed on the low side. She drained her short birdie putt and carded the low-round of the day, a 67. Pranovia hit 14 of 18 greens in regulation and needed just 28 putts to complete her round.
“I was focusing shot by shot. I wasn’t thinking about my score,” she said. “I am really happy. I was just feeling it today.”
Jamie Harada posted the second lowest score for the Monarchs, shooting a 1-over 73. Sophomore Ashley Nguyen and senior Janneinne Le followed with a 79.
Canyon seniors Elisabeth Bernabe and Jessica Vasilic and Foothill freshman Madie Chou joined Pranovia as the only county players to finish under par on Monday. Chou finished with a 4-under 68. Bernabe and Vasilic both fired a 2-under 70, but the Comanches finished with a 416 and tied for 14th with Yorba Linda, which was making its first appearance in this tournament.
Century League champion Foothill and South Coast League champion Tesoro placed 11th and 12th, respectively ahead of 13th-place Dana Hills.
At The Legends Golf Course, par 72, Temecula
1. Vista Murrieta 376, 2. Mater Dei 378, 3. Palm Desert 379, 4. Diamond Bar 381, 5. Palos Verdes 382, 6. Mira Costa 387, 7. Notre Dame/SO 388, 8. North Torrance 389, 9. Walnut 391, 10. Torrance 398, 11. Foothill 409, 12. Tesoro 411, 13. Dana Hills 414, 14t. Canyon 416, 14t. Yorba Linda 416, 16. Harvard Westlake 441