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DAMIAN DOTTORE, OCVARSITY.COM
Canyon senior Jessica Vasilic holed eight birdies on Thursday at The Golf Club at Rancho California to win the WSCGA So Cal Championships in Murrieta by two strokes.

Canyon's Vasilic triumphs, advances to state

OCVARSITY.COM

MURRIETA – Nine tee times for the CIF State Championship were up for grabs at the WSCGA So Cal Regional tournament on Thursday at The Golf Club at Rancho California.

Five of them went to players from Orange County. In that group were Canyon teammates Jessica Vasilic and Elisabeth Bernabe, who will be making their second consecutive appearance in the state tournament.

Both should be considered among the favorites for the prestigious event, especially Vasilic.

The AGJA second-team All-America carded a 6-under 66 in the wind and rain, putting her at the top of the leaderboard on Thursday, two shots clear of Fountain Valley sophomore Lilia Vu, who finished second with a 68.

Bernabe went bogey-free and posted a 2-under 70 in what she called “brutal conditions,” putting her in a tie for fourth with Alice Jeong of North Torrance and Los Alamitos senior Esther Lee.

Empire League champion and Yorba Linda sophomore Brooke Graebe finished one shot behind in a tie for seventh by shooting a 1-under 71, which also put her in the state tournament.

Marcella Pranovia and her Mater Dei teammates, however, came up just a bit short. Pranovia finished with a 1-over 73, but it took a 72 to make the cut for state.

The Monarchs, the lone county team represented in the WSCGA tournament, finished fourth in the team competition, two shots shy of earning the third and final qualifying spot for state.

Torrey Pines finished first with a 369 followed by Diamond Bar (385) and Palm Desert 386.

“It is really disappointing not to go on to state because we felt if we got into state, we’d have a pretty good chance (to win the title),” Mater Dei coach Ollie Martin said. “But we accomplished a tremendous amount this year, getting to this level, competing the way we did. I am happy about that.”

Vasilic is the third county player in the past five seasons to win the So Cal Regional Championship. Irvine’s Victoria Park and Beckman’s Kaitlin Park won the tournament in 2008 and 2010, respectively.

“I had a lot more tempo and rhythm today. I felt better, and I like this course a lot better (than Western Hills Country Club),” Vasilic said.

That’s where she carded a  5-over-par 77, which put her three shots above the cutline to make it to the WSCGA tournament.

“I am not a big fan of that course. But I really like this one,” Vasilic said. “I like that grass here. It is a lot easier to hit the ball clean, and I can place the ball real well with my driver. This boosts my confidnce going into state. I know I can win.”

Vasilic had eight birdies during her round to go along with two bogeys which came after she missed two 6-foot par putts.

Lee also lost a few strokes on the greens, taking a three-putt bogey on the 18th, which dropped from a tie for third into a tie fourth. Lee, who hit all but one green in regulation, had three bogeys and all were the result of three-putts.

Confidence in her putting seems to be the problem for her right now, especially from 3 feet and in. When she is standing over those short putts, she said she’s actually telling herself, “Oh no, this might not go in.”

“I am practicing them. While I am doing that, everything is fine,” Lee said. “But when I get into a competition, I just don’t feel comfortable (putting). By next Tuesday (the state tournament), I hope it will be better. I will be working on it.”

 


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