The Palo Alto boys improved nine strokes and two positions from last year, but it still wasn't enough as the Vikings shot a 384 and finished fifth at the Central Coast Section Regional II golf playoffs on Wednesday at Rancho Canada (West) in Carmel Valley.
Palo Alto needed to finish fourth to advance to the CCS finals next Tuesday on the same course, but missed that goal by seven strokes as Harker earned the final spot with 377 strokes.
"We were capable of 15 strokes better," said Paly coach Doyle Knight. "(Paly's) No. 1 and 2 shot seven strokes each over their average. (Bellarmine's) 356 would have been almost impossible to beat, but we should have qualified for next week."
For the second straight day, team scores were extremely low at the two regionals. Bellarmine won team honors with a 356, 24 strokes better than last year's Regional II champ. Paly's 384 from Wednesday would have qualified the Vikings for the CCS finals last year. Menlo School also missed out on qualifying as the Knights shot 400 and finished eighth out of 11 teams.
"We didn't play bad, just not well enough to move on," said Knight. "We shot a 384 as a team, but our goal was around 375, which would have gotten us in. We just can't seem to get over the hump and move on to the next level."
Palo Alto, which was unbeaten during the regular season and won the SCVAL Tournament title, will have one player in next week's section competition as Henry Hughes shot a 3-over 74 to earn one of nine individual berths. Oliver Cho of Pinewood also shot 74 to advance.
Palo Alto freshman Ahmed Ali, who shot 66 to win medalist honors at the league tourney, missed advancing by a shot after shooting a 75.
Menlo was led by junior Jeff Herr and freshman Max Ting, each of whom shot 78.
Herr got of to a slow start by going 5-over on his first four holes and then shot par the remainder of the day. Ting also got off to a slow start, going 7-over on the first eight holes and then shot even par, as well, on the second nine.
Junior William Hsieh was one back after shooting 79. Freshman Rohin Chandra, who qualified individually last year for CCS, shot an 83. Senior co-captains Ethan Wong and Ted Breyer both played in their last high school appearance. Wong, who made his third appearance at CCS, shot an 85 and Breyer shot an 82. Both seniors are headed to Harvard in the fall.