Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - November 8, 2013

NorCal finish puts Paly girls in the state finals

by Keith Peters

The day didn't start out well for Palo Alto junior Michelle Xie, but it ended much better as the Vikings continued their historic golf season at the 2013 NCGA/CIF Girls NorCal Championships on Monday.

Xie bogeyed the first, second and third holes before stopping the damage with a par-4 on the fourth hole. Then, things turned around big time as Xie aced the 144-yard par-3 fifth. She went on to birdie back-to-back par-5s at No. 8 and 9 to shoot 1-under on the front side.

Xie had two birdies on the back nine, finishing with an even-par 73 at the Spring Creek Golf and Country Club in Ripon to earn medalist honors and lead the Vikings to a second-place finish with 429 strokes.

"Michelle's hole-in-one was big for her after starting out with three bogeys," said Paly coach Doyle Knight. "She even said it changed her attitude quickly."

Palo Alto, which captured the Central Coast Section team title last week, was one of three teams Monday earning berths into the CIF State Championships on Nov. 20 at Quail Lodge Golf Club in Carmel Valley.

"It would have been nice to have won, but I was happy to move on to States," Knight said.

Xie, who was the CCS individual champion, now has won back-to-back titles and has the first-year Vikings heading to their first state finals.

"Michelle's score was big today," Knight said. "She played the best out of all the other number ones by a minimum of seven strokes. Usually it comes down to my 5 and 6 scorer."

Joining Palo Alto will be NorCal team champ St. Francis (Mountain View)m which shot 423, and Amador Valley, which finished third at 444. Gunn, which finished third at the CCS finals, wound up fifth with 449 strokes — giving the CCS three teams among the top five.

Freshman Emily Hwang shot 84 to help Paly advance. Senior Annie Chen shot 88 for the Vikings while senior Audrey Horn added an 89 and freshman Elise Kiya shot 95.

Also advancing to the state finals as an individual was Gunn senior Jayshree Sarathy. She shot 80 and was among nine individuals not on qualifying teams to move on. Gunn junior Anna Zhou just missed out joining her teammate after finishing with an 82. Zhou won last year's CCS title with a 68 on the same course.

"Tough day for everyone out there —windy and fast greens," said Knight. "I truly believed it would be us, Gunn and St Francis moving on. Anna (Zhou) didn't shoot very well, so Amador slide in past them."

In addition to Sarathy and Zhou, the Titans got a 91 from Tiffany Yang, a 93 from Lianna McFarlane-Connelly and Sandra Herchen's 103.

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