Girls’ golf season ends in CIF, Young reaches State semis

Chronicle Staff

As she teed off at Camarillo’s Las Posas Country Club for the CIF Northern Division Individual Tournament, Ally Young ’07 was focused solely on her own score for the first time all year. While normally thought of as an individual endeavor, golf is viewed in a much different light for the six girls that make up this year’s varsity squad, who place no little emphasis on the team aspect of the sport.

Despite “playing confidently on an unfamiliar course,” the girls’ golf team was unable to make the final four at this year’s CIF Central Team Divisionals on Oct. 29, Coach Megan Phillips said.

Out of a field of nearly 30 at Yucaipa Valley Golf Club, the squad just missed out on an appearance in the next round of CIF with an overall score of 475. Their score was 23 strokes more than their second place finish in Mission League preliminaries.

Despite missing the cut, Head Coach Megan Phillips feels that the trip was a success and fitting culmination for the squad’s season. “The team played confidently on an unfamiliar course,” Phillips said. “The younger team members learned a great deal about tournament style golf and met other players from all over Southern California.”

“I’m very proud of the team and the strides they’ve made individually and as a group. Every member of the team not only supports the rest of the team but also does their best to improve as an individual.”

By not making the cut, the team’s two-loss season was cut short. The squad lost both times to Notre Dame, and though they were defeated handily 223-249 and 233-250, these were by far the Wolverines’ worst outings of the year stroke-wise.

“Our girls are certainly capable of beating Notre Dame, based on our scores in league play,” Phillips said. “The team had a tendency to be mentally psyched out by Notre Dame’s reputation and experience. Since [they] will be losing three key seniors and Harvard-Westlake’s freshman and sophomores are making such impressive improvements this year, I wouldn’t be surprised if we can dominate them next year.”

And after the success of this season, the golf program has reason to be enthusiastic about the future. Despite the fact that they will sustain the loss of top golfers Young and Nicole Scher ’07, the program seems to be garnering support on the middle school campus and is reaping the benefits of it. Underclasswomen have played an important part in this year’s campaign with prominent roles being played by Abrams, a sophomore, and Tiffany Yang ’10.

“With rising interest on the middle school campus, they will have no problem filling our spots,” said Young. “Next season they will hopefully be able to take the Mission League title.”

As a unique talent in the final year of her high school career, Young’s leadership has proven beneficial to the team’s success. She tirelessly plies her trade on the links in courses throughout California. Nonetheless, she contends that the golf program has done a great job in assisting her to manage her time, although it hardly seems she takes a break.

“Often girls are looking for an active, fun, physical sport rather than a mental one like golf. I think that golf, especially at Harvard-Westlake, provides a perfect balance of physical and emotional components, and due to the light practice schedule, allows you to have a life outside of the sport.”

This lighter practicing has allowed Young to pursue her passion in photography, though she still engages in a rigorous training regimen, which consists of playing four to six days a week for five hours a day, not allowing for a lot of time spent elsewhere.

Young contends, though, that it is not all work for her. In a game famous for the quirks and nuance of its players, Young still manages to set herself apart in her approach to the game in the form of a happy face scribbled over her golf ball’s dimpled face. “Over the years I have realized that even at a competitive level, golf is still just a game. Every time I look down and concentrate on the ball, the happy face reminds me to be calm, take my time, and keep a positive attitude.”

Despite not making the cut at CIF divisionals, the season went on for Young, who made it into the State tournament following her successful individual CIF run.