Menlo School's top five golfers finished among the top 26, led by Max Ting's round of 68, as the Knights placed second to St. Francis in the Central Coast Section boys golf championships at Laguna Seca Golf Ranch on the Monterey Peninsula on Tuesday.
The Lancers recorded a team score of 358, with Menlo four strokes back at 362. Both teams, along with third-place Palma, advance to the NorCal Championships at Woodbridge Golf and Country Club in Woodbridge on Monday.
In addition, Menlo-Atherton sophomore Jackson Lee earned a spot in the NorCals as an individual, finishing in a third-place tie with a round 69. Lee finished in a 42nd place tie as a freshman.
Ting also improved his finish from a year ago, when his round of 71 was good enough for sixth place and a spot as an individual in the NorCals. Menlo did not qualify for the CCS team tournament last season.
"It's been our goal since the beginning of the season to advance as far as we could as a team," Ting said. "We had a great team total and I'm really proud of how the team did. It's definitely more special to move on as a team, and collectively represent Menlo."
Palo Alto, playing without one of its top golfers in senior Sergi Mata, improved 24 strokes from last year to finish seventh overall with a score of 390. UCLA-bound Ahmed Ali and sophomore Akirka Isayama each fired a round of 72 to lead the Vikings.
It was redemption for Ali, who shot an 88 on the same course in last year's event and finished 64th as an individual. Ali and Isayama tied for 16th with Menlo's Jeremy Yuh.
“Another super fun round today,” Yun said. “My wedge and putter saved me. I made a lot of putts outside of eight feet.”
Other Menlo golfers included Charlie Hsieh (73), Seth Pope (74), John Weingart (75) and Kripa Dharan (76).
Pope and Weingart each started their rounds slowly on the difficult par-4 10th hole, but each bounced back to shoot their best rounds during the playoffs.
“After hitting it into the hazard on 10, I was happy to make a 15-footer for birdie on 13 and made a long putt on 18 for birdie” said Pope, who also birdied the third hole.
Weingart was 6 over after 8 holes but then proceeded to birdie and eagle the next two holes.
"The course is not too long, but pretty tight, so I played conservatively, then when I could, played more aggressive, to the pins," Weingart said. "I was able to stick to that and didn't make too many mistakes."
Other Palo Alto golfers included Anthony Ha (77), Bob Zhu (79), Will Scmutz and Jasper Wang. Gunn's Andy Zhou shot a 78.
Harker, co-champions of the West Bay Athletic League with Menlo, finished fifth, five strokes behind Bellarmine and two ahead of Serra. Stevenson placed eighth.
Hsieh likes Menlo’s chances at NorCal. “The team played really well today and I’m so proud of the guys” he said. “I am really excited to play at NorCal. It’s going to be so much fun and I think we are going to do well.”